Transboundary Water Conflicts as Postcolonial Legacy (the Case of Nile Basin)

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It is not shortage or lack of water that leads to conflict but the way how water is governed and managed. It is said that water will be, much more than oil, the major geopolitical issue of the 21st century. Although it is difficult to demonstrate this, it is clear that the increasing scarcity of the resource, on the one hand, and the configuration of its availability, on the other, are conflict-generating. In the particular case of the African continent, the large catchment basins of the Nile, Niger and Chad, shared by many states of unequal power, are the scene of inefficient hydro-diplomacy. Indeed, north to south, the Nile Delta is 161 km long and covers the coastline of Egypt from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east. Egypt with 100 mln population is de facto the principal hydro-hegemon state in the Nile basin. Nevertheless, a couple of riparian states, as Ethiopia (105 mln population), have taken measures in order to challenge this status quo: the signature and launching of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the signature of Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the signing of the Declaration of Principles Agreement. The article attempts to analyse the urgency of the problem of water resources allocation in Africa with particular focus to the Nile basin and the complexity of agreements regulating the issue dating back to the colonial era. The study also emphasizes the difficulties bilateral and multilateral aids faced while trying to solve a conflict. As Nile for many states is not just a source of water, it is the host of a fragile ecosystem, essential for maintaining the environmental and ecological balance of North-East Africa.

About the authors

Adam Muhammad Ahmed Abdullah

Al-Zaeem Al-Azhari University

Author for correspondence.
Khartoum, Sudan

Professor, Department of Political Science

Celia Dyduck

RUDN University

Moscow, Russian Federation

Assistant, Department of Theory and History of International Relations

Taha Y. Ahmed

RUDN University

Moscow, Russian Federation

postgraduate student, Department of Theory and History of International Relations


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Copyright (c) 2020 Abdullah A.A., Dyduck C., Ahmed T.Y.

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