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The Future of Cooperation in the Nile Basin in the post-Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD ) Period

Dr. Hamdy Abdel Rahman Hassan

Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences - Zayed University.

What went wrong with the Nile Basin? The ancient philosopher Seneca once argued: "All rivers were 'vulgares aqua' but the Nile was the 'most noble' of all watercourses.", but today it has become a "river of discontent", according to Michele Dunne · Katherine Pollock. The announcement of the Ethiopian government on the construction of GERD in 2011 and the agreement to form a tripartite committee to assess the impact of the dam on the downstream state (Egypt and Sudan) in September of the same year, has changed dramatically the historical balance of power in the Nile Basin. This paper looks at combinations of different possible future scenarios that will shape the regional interactions and cooperation in the Nile Basin region.

Today, the shape and dynamics of cooperation in the Nile Basin remain uncertain and subject to a number of uncertainties. This raises many questions such as: Will the international donors continue its current level of support for the regional Nile Basin Initiative centres? Can adequate funding be provided for major investment projects in infrastructure aimed at increasing the benefits of Nile water? When can the Nile Basin Initiative shift from its current status to a permanent status that is supported by all the basin countries? Will Egypt re-engage in regional cooperation discussions in the Nile Basin in accordance with the power shift in the region? Based on these dynamic and uncertain situations, it is important to study the future scenarios in order to reach the best possible solutions.

The paper has argued that we should stand against the rhetoric that calls for the drums of war and uses scare tactics when it pertains to the Nile waters and threats to Egyptian presence, by saying that we are facing a war of survival. Similarly, we reject the hate speech and incitement against Egypt adopted by some writers and officials in Upper Nile states. We must all rise above, and adopt the values of dialogue and tolerance to promote the common interests and benefits of the peoples of the Nile Basin. As the wise Imam Ali, may God have mercy on him, once said: O Malik, people are two types, either your brother in religion or your counterpart in creation."