Cairo, Egypt said negotiations over Ethiopia’s massive Grand Renaissance Dam ended without progress this week, the latest setback in years of strained efforts to resolve the dispute over the Nile’s waters.
The talks in Cairo between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia were the first in over a year after the African Union failed to broker an agreement. At stake is how quickly Ethiopia fills the dam’s giant reservoir on a Nile tributary and how it operates the dam thereafter.
Both Egypt and Sudan, which rely on the Nile for nearly all their freshwater supplies, have raised urgent concerns that Ethiopia’s $5 billion hydroelectric project will restrict their water access. But Ethiopia insists the undertaking is vital for its development and power needs.
The three countries have quarrelled over the issue for a decade, with negotiations achieving little compromise. Experts fear that without reconciliation, tensions could heighten, threatening regional stability.
“There are no easy solutions here,” said Cairo University agriculture professor Hiba Ashraf. “But cordial discussions must continue. The Nile’s future impacts us all.”
Resolving the dispute will require flexibility and goodwill from all sides. The river’s bounty has nourished its peoples since ancient times. With wisdom and foresight, a mutually beneficial pact for its sharing remains possible.