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Water Problems in Africa

Water Politics. How Sudan’s Turbulent Transition toward Democracy Has Led It to Compromise Its Own Well-Being over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

ABSTRACT
Ever since the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was
conceived in 2011 under Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles
Zenawi, Sudan has adopted a pragmatic stance vis-à-vis the
dam, playing an integral role in a 2015 Declaration of Principles
(DoP). Signed in Khartoum, the declaration promised to
cooperate in good faith over the dam’s construction while
also looking to alleviate concerns in Egypt over its water
supply. This approach mainly stemmed from a recognition
that Sudan stands to benefit from the power generation and
economic development through the production of sustainable
clean energy supply. However, as the 30-year reign of Omar
al-Bashir came to an end in 2019 – and an ensuing civil
campaign against the country’s powerful military gained
momentum – Sudan’s clear-headedness toward the GERD
dissipated. Instead, the country’s military led by General Abdel
Fattah al-Burhan has cozied up to its ally Egypt and used
rising tensions over the GERD’s construction to deflect from
domestic tensions at home.

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