As the Nile is now turned out to be a source of cooperation instead of being a cause of confrontation, all riparian countries should come together more than ever before with a view to strengthening their tie through public diplomacy, according to Professor Yacob Arsano.
In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald Prof. Yacob said that the effort could help defend and do away with the covert intentions of some countries that could harm the benefits of millions of people living along the Nile basin in the name of historical rights and peace deal.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction is well underway with a view to addressing the ever-growing power demand and foster countries' fight against poverty.
"In my opinion, hydroelectric dam will enable Ethiopia to alleviate the complicated socio-economic challenges and lack of access to electricity from which 60 percent of its population suffers," he stated. He further noted that the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) has come up with commendable achievements since its establishment in terms of maintaining the cooperation platform, generating knowledge and tools as well as building capacity to enable countries make informed decision for the development of the shared waters thereby contributing a lot to water, food and energy security in the riparian countries.
Both conventional and public diplomatic efforts should be well practiced and consolidated to help riparian nations collaboratively work for common goal.
Though Nile is the epicenter of all riparian development efforts and institutions such as the Nile Basin Initiative, countries have to consolidate efforts to provide their respective citizens with equitable and fair water share.
According to him, it is high time to strengthen efforts of public diplomacy and cooperation to hit the desired target.
Nile Basin covers around 10 percent of Africa's landmass, and the Nile River - the world's longest - underpins livelihoods for over 200 million people. And it is shared by 11 countries, each with different needs and priorities, but also with common challenges - increasing demand for water, environmental degradation, recurrent flooding, droughts, and energy insecurity.
He also applauded the efforts of the diaspora communities and academia for their commitment in revealing the accurate intention of Ethiopians to the rest of the world regarding the construction of the Dam.