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EGYPT, SUDAN PREPARE FOR NEGOTIATIONS OVER ETHIOPIA’S NILE DAM

07/20/2020

On July 14, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan failed to reach agreement on the regulation of water flow from Ethiopia’s $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile (Reuters). The dam would double Ethiopia’s current power capacity, positioning the country as a leading power exporter in Africa. Egypt has raised concerns that the dam would restrict water levels in the Nile River, the main source of water for its population of 100 million. The GERD is located nine miles from the border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile River that sources 90% of Egypt’s freshwater (Reuters).

Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have negotiated regulation of the dam for a decade, with tensions rising in recent months as construction of the dam nears completion. On July 15, rising waters in the reservoir behind the dam led to reports that Ethiopia had started filling the dam without consent from Egypt or Sudan (The Guardian). According to the Sudanese government, Ethiopia denied reports of filling the dam reservoir (Reuters).

The African Union will oversee continued negotiations between the three countries during the week of July 20 (Bloomberg). Sudan and Egypt both seek a legally binding agreement before the dam is filled (Reuters).