Monday 18 June 2018

Egypt raises ‘extreme concern’ about Nile dam with Ethiopia

Egypt depends on the Nile for almost all of its water needs.

Construction work takes place, at the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam near Assosa (Elias Asmare/AP)
Construction work takes place, at the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam near Assosa (Elias Asmare/AP)

By Associated Press reporters

The president of Egypt has expressed his “extreme concern” over the lack of progress in talks over the construction of a massive Nile dam in Ethiopia during a meeting with that country’s visiting prime minister.

Egypt fears the dam, which is about 60% complete, will significantly reduce its vital share of the Nile’s waters.

Ethiopia has downplayed those fears and said it needs the dam for its own economic development.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi emerged from a meeting in Cairo on Thursday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, saying co-operation between Nile basin countries should not be a zero-sum game.

Mr el-Sissi says Ethiopia has rejected an Egyptian proposal for World Bank experts to mediate in the dispute.

Egypt is a mostly desert country that depends on the Nile for almost all of its water needs. Its 95 million people grow by at least a million every year, further straining its water resources and posing a perpetual challenge to its economic development.

“I expressed our extreme concern over the continuation of the state of stagnation besetting the tripartite technical track,” which is aimed at examining the impact of the dam on Egypt and Sudan, Mr el-Sissi said.

He said cooperation among the Nile basin countries must not be a “zero-sum game.”

Relations have deteriorated between Egypt and Sudan, with Cairo accusing Khartoum of siding with Ethiopia in the dispute over the dam and reviving a long-standing border dispute.

Of special concern to Egypt is the speed at which a planned reservoir is filled behind the dam and the method of its annual replenishment.

Egypt fears that a quick fill would drastically reduce the Nile’s flow, with potentially severe effects on its agriculture and other sectors.

Ethiopia says the five billion US dollars (£3.6 billion) dam is essential, noting that the vast majority of its population lacks electricity.

The dam will generate over 6,400 megawatts, a massive boost to the country’s current production of 4,000 Megawatts.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News