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Dispute over Nile water share escalates 3

May17

After a decade of negotiations, four east African countries on Friday signed an agreement that would allow for more equitable distribution of water from the Nile River. The agreement will take effect in one year and allow these upstream countries greater access to Nile water, according to NTV Kenya.

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The dispute over water shares from the Nile River has heated up, with four African nations signing a new agreement to demand more of its water.

The countries that signed the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework were Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

Egypt and Sudan, which have primary and secondary rights to the water, refused to sign. The countries that signed the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework were Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

The other upstream Nile countries, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Burundi, indicated that they are also willing to sign.

Nine nations lay claim to the water, but two existing agreements had given the lion’s share to arid Egypt and Sudan.

Under the current agreement, brokered by the British in 1929, Egypt gets 87% of the river’s water and veto power over upstream water projects. A 1959 agreement gave Sudan secondary rights to the water.

Cairo says that the Nile water is an issue of “national security.” The country is already struggling with a shortage of water, and a 2007 report by the Water Research Center of Egypt said that the country will face “serious water shortages by the year 2025,” according to Egypt News.

But the other upstream Nile coutries are not willing to accept the present situation any more. For example Ethiopia – the source of the Blue Nile – contributes an estimated 87% of the river waters but is able to make relatively little use of its natural resource.

The BBC’s Will Ross says that, with populations soaring, demand for water increasing and climate change having an impact, there are warnings that wrangling over the world’s longest river could be a trigger for conflict.

“If we don’t have an agreed co-operative framework, there will be no peace,” Kenya’s director of water resources John Nyaro told the BBC before the meeting.

“Where there is no rule of law, the rule of the jungle does not provide peace.”

By Staff – Afronline

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