Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Aty, stressed that the most prominent challenges facing the water sector in Egypt is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Ethiopia has embarked on filling unilaterally without reaching a final agreement with the Nile River downstream countries.
During his participation in a session on cooperation in transboundary river basins on the second day of the 5th Arab Water Forum on Wednesday in Dubai, Abdel Aty noted that despite the length of negotiations over the course of nearly a decade, Egypt has engaged in negotiation rounds in good faith.
He further stressed that Egypt engaged in the talks seeking to explore all available means to reach a binding legal agreement regulating the process of filling and operating the dam, away from any unilateral approach that seeks to impose a fait accompli and ignore the basic rights of the peoples in the two downstream countries.
The minister pointed to Egypt’s keenness to allow Ethiopia to achieve its development goals and generate electricity, while at the same time limiting the negative effects and damage that this dam may cause to the two downstream countries.
Egypt is considered one of the driest countries in the world, and it is expected that the amount of water available for agriculture will decrease in the future as a result of the population increase with the stability of resources. This will negatively affect the food gap and the return from agriculture in the national product and the employment rates in agriculture.
Moreover, the minister said that Egypt is keen to provide technical support to the Nile Basin countries through the implementation of development projects that directly benefit the citizens of the basin countries, such as digging groundwater wells, removing weeds from waterways, preparing rain forecast centres, rehabilitating river ports, constructing rainwater harvesting dams, and training technical cadres in these countries.
He further added that Egypt supports a regional cooperation and integration project to establish a navigation line between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea. The project is sought to raise the level of trade and tourism exchange between the basin’s nations.