Ethiopia's Nile Dam 'an Existential Issue' to Egypt, says El Sisi after Talks with Visiting Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan
The massive hydroelectric Nile dam being built by Ethiopia is an “existential” issue that could affect millions of Egyptians, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said on Wednesday.
Egypt is deeply alarmed that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, or Gerd, would reduce its share of Nile water significantly, severely disrupting its vital agriculture sector and wiping out hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Ethiopia has repeatedly assured Egypt and bordering downstream country Sudan that the dam, which will lift millions from poverty, would not negatively effect them. It says that building and running the Gerd was a sovereignty issue in which outsiders should not meddle.
Addressing a news conference after talks with visiting Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the Egyptian leader said they reviewed developments related to the Gerd as an “existential issue that affects the lives of millions of Egyptians”.
Tanzania is one of 11 Nile basin nations and home to a hydroelectric dam being built on the Rufiji river with help from Egyptian engineers.
Egypt’s assistance in the construction of the Julius Nyerere dam was cited by Mr El Sisi on Wednesday to counter claims by Addis Ababa that Egypt was sticking by colonial-era agreements that unjustly gave it the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters without care or concern for the needs and interests of other basin nations.
“That project represents a model for Egypt’s support of the rights of Nile basin nations to achieve full exploitation of its water resources without negatively impacting the rights of other nations,” said the Egyptian leader, who since taking office in 2014 has energetically courted sub-Saharan African nations, travelling widely in the continent, offering technical training opportunities, aid and university scholarships. Read more