March 25, 2015
Uganda has congratulated Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan for reaching an agreement on the construction of a mega dam on the Ethiopian portion of River Nile.
Uganda’s message was carried by the premier Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who represented President Yoweri Museveni to witness the signing ceremony on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, held in Khartoum, Sudan on 23 March 2015.
River Nile’s water resources are shared by eleven countries that include Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.
“Uganda salutes the brotherly leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt for coming to this historic agreement. President Yoweri Museveni has been following, with keen interest, the negotiations among the three countries and is happy that they have come to a productive end,” Dr Rugunda said.
The agreement of principles was signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The agreement paves way for the completion of the construction of the 6,000 Megawatt Dam on River Nile by Ethiopia—a move that has been a source of acrimony by the other countries in the Nile basin, notably, Egypt.
“Uganda is pleased that the utilisation of the waters of River Nile which sometimes has been a cause of conflict, has now, through this cooperation agreement become a source of unity. Cooperation among the countries that share the basin of River Nile is the only sure way of deriving mutual benefits to drive development in our countries and improve the livelihoods of our citizens,” Dr Rugunda added.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said:
“I confirm the construction of the Renaissance dam will not cause any damage to our three states and especially to the Egyptian people.”
Egypt, which relies heavily on river Nile waters for domestic, industrial and agriculture feared that the Grand Renaissance dam would reduce its water supply.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said: “This is a framework agreement and it will be completed. We have chosen cooperation, and to trust one another for the sake of development.”
Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, hailed the deal and expressed his country’s commitment to cooperation with countries of the Nile Basin to reach plausible agreements:
“By signing this agreement, we confirm our commitment to pursue further detailed agreements that organize relations among the Nile Basin countries,” said Al-Bashir.
Once completed, the 6,000 MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, will be the largest in Africa.