The Egyptian Hydro-Hegemony in the Nile Basin: The Quest for Changing the Status Quo
THE JOURNAL OF WATER LAW, Volume 26, 2, 2020
11 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2020 Last revised: 18 Jan 2022
Date Written: August 25, 2018
For long, Egypt has been the principal state in the Nile basin. “Through a myriad of mechanisms and tactics Egypt has been capable of maintaining its role as the regional hydro-hegemon and effectively hindering any competition over its water supply.” Recently, however, the upstream states, especially Ethiopia, are challenging the Egyptian hydro hegemony and undertaking various measures to change the status quo. The launching of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the adoption of the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and the signing of Declaration of Principles (DoPs) are examples of those measures. This paper attempts to analyze the implications of those measures on the hydro-hegemonic configuration of the Nile basin. In so doing, it follows a multi-disciplinary approach- drawing upon politics, hydro-hegemony, and law. The paper argues that, although the measures are steps forward for challenging the Egyptian hegemony, the two important legal instruments, the CFA and DoPs, are not sufficient to change the anachronistic status quo. In addition, the paper indicates how the lower riparian states could use these documents to perpetuate the status quo. It proposes a change in the status quo through a new basin-wide multilateral treaty that harms none and benefits all.
Keywords: Nile; Egypt; Ethiopia; Sudan; Hydro Hegemony; Nile Basin Initiative; Cooperative Framework Agreement; Rand Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam; Declaration of Principles
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