Africa Today blog

The flagship African show in Press TV

Has Egypt the right to still lay hold of a colonial agreement on the Nile?

Posted by AT on May 19, 2010

Africa Today 56
Topic: Has Egypt the right to still lay hold of a colonial agreement on the Nile?
Broadcasting date: 11th May 2010
Presenter: Vuyiswa
Guests:
1- Dr Wafik Moustafa
Chair, Conservative Arab network

2- Vincent Magombe
Director, Africa Inform International

Watch the whole episode on Press TV website

Description:
Sudan and Egypt’s refusal over revision of 1959 colonial treaty on the distribution and use of the Nile waters.

Brief:
Countries of the Nile Basin Initiative must call Egypt’s bluff. The North African country is threatening to withdraw from the pact if the other Nile Basin partners sign a new Co-operation Framework Agreement.
The new agreement is meant to replace the lopsided colonial-era treaty that gave Egypt extraordinary monopoly over the use of Nile waters, while the countries from which the river originates were starved of the vital resource.
The previous agreement was signed in 1959 between Britain, the dominant colonial power then, and Egypt and Sudan.
Besides Ethiopia, the other countries now part of the pact — Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo DR — were still under colonial rule, and at independence, inherited a Nile treaty heavily tilted in favour of Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt, in particular, has over the years employed the language of threats to retain its unjust hold over the Nile waters. Under the prevailing treaty, Egypt claims 55.5 billion cubic metres or 87 per cent of the Nile’s annual flow.
This means the countries downstream cannot tap the water for irrigation, domestic use, hydro-electric power or industrial use without Egypt’s permission.

A fierce tension is rising between Egypt and seven other countries along the Nile Basin over the issue of sharing of the Nile River. Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo DR are poised to sign a new pact on equitable use of the water without Egypt and Sudan, the two largest consumers of the Nile basin. The previous agreement signed in 1959 between colonial power Britain, Egypt and Sudan gave Egypt a monopoly over the use of Nile waters which has its source from Ethiopia. Africa Today examines whether Egypt is still justified in maintaining a colonial agreement that gives it the sole use of the Nile waters?

About 300 million people live along the Nile basin, with most living in Egypt. The other countries, except Ethiopia, inherited the 1959 Nile treaty heavily in favour of Egypt and Sudan. A new pact by these countries will however address this problem and allow them to be able to use the water for irrigation, domestic use, hydro-electric power without Egypt’s permission. With some of these countries allies of western powers, will Egypt be looking to Israel, a force in Egyptian politics, for support, in helping it enforce the colonial agreement.

Emails:

Viktor Moadana, Nigeria.

I must say big congratulations to the Tanzanian government for her good gesture towards the refugees’ naturalization. I hope the Tanzanian government will handle this properly.
I will also like to call on the AU (African Union) to support this good integration. It is indeed a mark of unity amongst Africans.

Nomleth Blackstar , South Africa
I am a South African & it is saddening that my country has been affected by division once again. I love my south Africans black or white but it is unfair when things go bad in South Africa, black people will be blamed for the wrong things. Why should we see colour when things go wrong? We are fighting each other instead of fighting the bad government who doesn’t care about the country.

Text:
Innocent, Zambia

I am a refugee living in Zambia. I thank Tanzanian’s government for the good job they have done for refugees. We hope Zambian government will do the same.

Moosa, South Africa
We in South Africa feel embarrassed when reading in the media about our president spending 80 million rand on junkets when the very people who voted him in are hungry and cold. What an embarrassment to the poor.

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