16 August 2017

East Africa: Nile River Should Benefit All Parties

Photo: Daily Monitor
River Nile is shared by 10 countries and because of this shared basin, an initiative was set up to monitor activities along the river.

EGYPTIAN President Abdel Al-Sisi arrived in Dar es Salaam on a wet Monday this week. In our local scripture, that could well be a blessing.

And, the occasion wasn't lost on President John Magufuli, who said his Egyptian opposite number had come with 'blessings to us - but soon after he prayed that the rains shouldn't disrupt our programme.'

Well, the programme wasn't disrupted, and we welcomed this illustrious leader from the Arab Republic of Egypt. To date, trade between Cairo and Dar es Salaam stands at $78 million, and Egyptian companies are spending some $900 million in investments here.

We could do more - and we should - because there's so much going. We share a river, and the Egyptians are good at using it - while we literally sit on it! The Nile River courses through ten African countries, and it should therefore benefit all countries.

Naturally, other nations with access to the river - Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania - should find ways to benefit from this resource. All stakeholders of this important river should understand that we all have a duty to keeping this water source safe and available to all along its route.

What would happen, for instance, if anyone of the ten countries decided to misbehave and channel all the waters to its own use? We pray that none of the sort should happen.

There are various claims to rights over the Nile River waters, but we believe that rivers are global commons - and you cannot cross the same river twice - so we need to keep our claims only at the level of conserving its sustainability.

There must be some win-win situation because this river doesn't belong to one single nation. We know that the Egyptians depend almost entirely on the Nile for their survival. We encourage current government efforts to find the best ways for all member states to benefit from the Nile.

This river belongs to Africa, and through this continent, to the world ultimately.


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