15 February 2016

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan Ask for More Information for Renaissance Dam Deal

News highlights the fact that the three countries of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan who have been in negotiations about the Renaissance Dam since 2013, recently rejected a current agreement presented by a French consultancy. The three countries agree that they need more information and are asking for it. This is prudent, in my opinion.

The process of figuring out just how to do something that has never been done before, as is the case in the construction of the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River that provides water resources shared by the three countries, is a step-by-step process. These negotiations are continuing over years, years within which leadership and diplomacy has changed in the three countries, where economic priorities have shifted, where cultural needs and dynamics have shifted, and where water and energy needs have also altered - the resulting continued dialogue must be colored by these external factors.

Perhaps the title of this article is less that the three countries failed to sign something, but that the countries are asking for more time and information before making a commitment.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan fail to sign the Nile River deal

A section of Ethiopia's controversial n Renaissance Dam. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have declined to sign the contract presented by the French companies assigned to conduct studies on the impact of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the upstream countries of the Nile River.
The technical committee of the three countries failed to agree on the contract presented by the two consultancy firms after a five days meeting ended on Thursday night in Khartoum.
The three countries said in a brief joint statement that they had discussed the technical proposals, including the financial obligations.
The statement added that the three countries agreed to meet again to finalise the agreement and sign the contract.
The proposal
Meanwhile, the Sudanese Electricity and Water Resources minister, Mr Mutaz Musa, told the Africa Review after the meeting that the three states agreed to seek more consultations.
He explained that the Khartoum meeting had discussed the proposal by the French companies and each country now needed to discuss the details alone.
''The three countries need to conduct more consultations from within then the contract will be ready to be signed,'' he said.
Water quota
The ministers from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in Khartoum to examine the joint technical proposal submitted by the French Artelia and BRL companies.
The Egyptian Irrigation minister, Mr Husam Moghazi, had earlier indicated that the meeting was crucial, adding that the studies on the Nile should be completed this year.
The three countries have agreed to conduct two additional studies: the first one on the effects on the water quota for Sudan and Egypt and the second on environmental, economic and social impacts of the dam on Sudan and Egypt.