To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

February 28, 2011

Burundi signs accord on use of Nile River water

by David Malingha Doya


Burundi became the sixth nation to sign an agreement on water usage from the Nile River, enabling ratification of an accord that may strip Egypt of its veto power over rights to the flow from the world’s longest river.

“The government of Burundi sent an e-mail to technical advisory committee members confirming they have signed and asked us to join them in congratulating them upon this landmark achievement,” said Shillingi Mugisha, a member of the Nile Technical Advisory Committee.

A 1929 treaty brokered by the former colonial power, Britain, granted Egypt a veto over projects that may alter the flow of the Nile. A 1959 accord between Egypt and Sudan claimed 90 percent of the Nile’s flow for the two countries.

The so- called Cooperative Framework Agreement, signed by Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya in May, will establish a commission to oversee dam building and irrigation development, effectively stripping Egypt of the veto. Almost all of Egypt’s water supply comes from the Nile.

“We are happy to join our colleagues in East Africa in signing this agreement,” Burundian Water and Environment Minister Jean-Marie Nibirantije said in a phone interview today from Bujumbura, the Burundian capital.

Egypt warned in April, before the five countries signed the accord, that it would withdraw from the Nile Basin Initiative, a nine-member convention on cooperation in the Nile basin known as the NBI, if the seven upstream states signed the accord.

A sixth signatory was needed for the CFA to come into force and once it has been ratified by the six national legislatures, a Nile Basin Commission will be created. The remaining upstream nation, Eritrea, wasn’t involved in talks leading to the accord. The CFA states that the commission will resolve the issue of water security in its first six months of operations.

Abdel Fattah Metawie, head of the unit responsible for Nile water in the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, didn’t respond to e-mailed questions sent today seeking comment. Egypt and Sudan in January asked Nile basin countries to meet to discuss the legal implications of not all riparian states signing the agreement.

“The meeting was postponed because of the political problem in Egypt, but could take place next month,” Ethiopian Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said in a Feb. 22 interview from Goma, in eastern Congo.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, which led a campaign for countries to sign the agreement in 2009, plans to sign the accord at an unspecified future date, Environment Minister Jose Endundo said in an interview on Feb. 22.

Some projects being considered on the Nile include a 60 to 80-megawatt hydropower plant at Rusumo Falls to serve Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi, according to information from NBI. Building the power-generation plant and cross-border transmission lines over the next four years may cost $350 million, it said.

“For the actual investment projects like irrigation schemes, watershed management, electricity generation and transmission, we estimated the cost at $784 million in 2010,” Khairy Wael, executive director of the NBI, said in a Feb. 22 interview from Goma. “We forecast investment to be $2.4 billion by 2014.”

The Nile River’s average discharge is about 300 million cubic meters per day, according to the website of the Nile Basin Initiative. Ethiopia is the source of about 85 percent of the water that flows to Sudan and Egypt.

“It’s big news for us,” Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said by phone today from Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. “We think this is in the interests of Burundi and all riparian countries. We believe it’s even in the interests of Egypt, as this is the only way we can be in a win-win situation.”

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP