Tanzania Makes Its Stand Clear On Nile

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Addis Ababa, 4 March 2014 (WIC) — Tanzania wants the Nile waters to shared by all countries it passes through.

The affirmation was made last week by President Jakaya Kikwete when having talks in Dar es Salaam with Egyptian Envoy to the president, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy who had been sent by Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour to present a message to President Kikwete on strengthening various matters of bilateral relations between the two countries.

After their talks, President Kikwete commented on the use of Nile waters stressing the position of Tanzania that it was the right of every country where the river flows through to use that water for its development.

"All countries where the river flows , in one way or another, have the same rights to use the river water for their country's development," this is Tanzania 's position, said President Kikwete, adding that he believes in fair use of water in all countries where the river flows.

President Kikwete's stand on Nile River water utilization comes at a time when there are deadlock in talks between Ethiopia and Egypt over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam.

The planned Grand Renaissance Dam is a $4.2 billion hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile, one of the main tributaries of the Nile.

The Nile River is subject to political interactions. It is the world's longest river flowing 6,700 kilometers through ten countries in northeastern Africa - Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt with varying climates.

In 2010, Ethiopia, along with five other countries based along the river Nile (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi in 2011) signed a Cooperative Framework Agreement that addressed issues of using the water in ways that do not cause significant harm to other countries reliant on the water.

These countries were fed up with always having to ask permission from Egypt before they could attempt to use the river in any development project. The agreement lays the foundations for creating a Nile River Basin Commission that would manage all water rights and development projects along the river.

Ethiopia says the $4.2 billion hydroelectric dam would benefit agriculture and any energy consumers in East Africa, whilst at the same time not affecting the flow of water downstream; even Sudan has shown its support for the project. (East African Business Week)