Nile basin countries celebrate 20 years of partnership
Ten riparian states sharing the Nile River mark 20th anniversary of their cooperation initiative
By Addis Getachew
Member countries of the world’s largest river came together on Friday in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) with Egypt staying out of the fold.
High-profile delegations from member countries attended the celebrations that include panel discussions by experts, songs and speeches.
The anniversary takes up the theme: Stronger Together.
"Twenty years of NBI is a time for us to celebrate commendable achievements: At least 84 joint investment projects with an accumulated investment volume of $6.5 billion have been prepared," a Nile Press release quoted Francois Tetero, a member of Rwanda’s Nile Technical Advisory Committee, as saying.
He said: "These projects, like the Nile itself, span across national borders and play an integral part in achieving not only water security but also food and energy security as well as eradicating poverty in the Nile Basin."
"Through capacity building, generation of policies and knowledge, the NBI supports the countries and people of the Nile Basin to better manage their shared water resources," he said. "To date, 30,000 people have benefited from capacity building activities through the NBI while 10,000 knowledge products produced and 16 strategies that provide policy directions for the Member States on trans-boundary aspects, developed."
Timeout for Egypt
Egypt suspended its membership in 2010 together with Sudan (which returned in 2013) after a Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) -- a legal framework that provides for transforming the NBI into a commission rendering old (colonial) treaties on the Nile irrelevant -- was opened for signing.
"Egypt’s suspension of its membership was due to concerns on issues related to water security," NBI Executive Director Innocent Ntabana told Anadolu Agency. "It is a loss both to the NBI and Egypt."
According to NBI documents, six countries signed the CFA but only three ratified it. It will pass into being an international law upon ratification by at least six countries replacing the 1955 water sharing agreement signed by Egypt and Sudan.
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