Damn the ‘Colonial-Era Agreement’ On the Use of the Nile River

Egypt Nile
Egypt thinks it is entitled to the Nile’s water

Jeffrey Fleishman of the Los Angeles Times, suggests that Ethiopia had somehow changed its mind on what he called a ‘colonial era agreement’ on the use of Nile (Abay) river.

In an article titled, “The Nile, Egypt’s lifeline in the desert, comes under threat“, he writes “African countries at the river’s source, notably Ethiopia, no longer feel bound by colonial-era agreements on water rights and are moving to siphon away larger shares of water for electricity, irrigation and business to meet demands of burgeoning populations”.

Ethiopia’s position has always been the same, the country will not ask anyone for ‘permission’ to utilize its own natural resources, not the least so-called colonial masters. In case the author forgets history, Ethiopia had no colonial master.

His article is deeply patronizing and insulting for Ethiopia and other Nile basin countries. He starts by saying,”As poor African capitals increasingly challenge Cairo, however, the struggle has become one of the most pressing foreign policy tests for Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi”.

It is not Ethiopia’s problem that Egypt’s sole source of water is Nile. Sure, our country is blessed with several rivers but it is absurd to suggest that we should spare the Nile for foreigners and invaders. No international law prevents Ethiopia from utilizing its natural resources, no amount of war mongering from Egypt will stop the building of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The author even mentions that Ethiopia uses just 3% of the water despite it supplies more than 75% of the water to Nile.

Egypt should come to the table as equal partner with other Nile basin countries and work out a new agreement. This so-called colonial era agreement is not worth the paper it is written on. Ethiopia has never and will never be bound to it.

The single biggest challenge to building the Grand Renaissance Dam is financing not the damn ‘colonial-era agreement’.