A 40-strong delegation of officials representing the Egyptian people has been visiting Kampala to hold talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni concerning new plans for the sharing of Nile basin water. The delegation strongly refused to back a recent declaration by Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy Alemayehu Tegenu to build a mega-hydropower plant in Benshangul Gumuz, some 40 kilometers from the Sudanese border.
This follows Prime Minister Zenawi recent declaration that Ethiopia intends to undertake a number of important projects on the River Nile. The plant, which would be the biggest investment in the county, will be capable of generating 6000 MW of electricity.
Egyptian concerns about water supplies in Egypt and Sudan continue to rise as they refuse to take part in talks on the Entebbe Agreement, recently signed by Nile Countries Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi. The Entebbe agreement would re-shuffle Nile water sharing, still regulated by two 1929 and 1959 deals that allow Egypt some 90 percent of the basin.
In order to counterbalance recent construction of Sudanese Merope Dam and prevent shortage in Nile water, the Egyptian government agreed to upend funding the construction of a canal in Sudan to recover swamp water. A recent meeting between the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC) struck another blow to Egyptian influence on Nile water exploits.
The two delegations signed a memorandum of understanding “to facilitate co-operation in the area of efficient management and sustainable development of the region.” The two organizations represent Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Tanzania.