Nile Dam Talks Kick Off in D.R. Congo

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan representatives met in Kinshasa on Sunday over Addis Ababa’s contested Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile

There have been controversies for close to a decade over the giant dam built across this treasured river. The Foreign Ministers from the three countries met to negotiate the utility on the giant dam

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Félix Tshisekedi, chairman of the African Union since February, encouraged the foreign ministers “to launch a new dynamic”. He pointed out that human dimension must be at the heart of these tripartite negotiations.

Tshisekedi  commended the willingness of the participants to seek African solutions for African problems together and encouraged fresh starts to open one or more windows of hope.

The Ministers negotiated that the people of all three countries have a right to water, food and health.

The Nile, the world’s longest river, is a lifeline supplying water and electricity to the 10 countries it crosses.

While all three countries stated the benefits and the issues associated with the dam and their stands in order to reach a consensus, upstream Ethiopia says hydroelectric power produced by the GERD will be vital to meeting the energy needs of its 110 million people.

Egypt which depends on the Nile for about 97% of its irrigation and drinking water, sees the dam as an existential threat.

Sudan a downstream nation too, fears its own dams will be compromised if Ethiopia proceeds with filling the GERD before a deal is reached.

U.S. Ambassador to D.R. Congo, Mike Hammer, attended the talks, which are set to wrap up on Monday. He charged the three countries to work together to achieved the desired results for the negotiations.

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