Can Ethiopia and Egypt agree on the Nile?

Ethiopia says a multibillion dollar hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile will change the lives of 65 million people without electricity and mark the country’s arrival as a major African power. But the project threatens a lasting rift between Nile basin countries downstream – especially Egypt.

Egypt fears that rapidly filling the Ethiopian dam will arrest the flow of water downstream, where Egyptian farmers already struggling with the impact of climate change rely on irrigation from the Nile. Recent talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan led by the African Union have so failed to yield an agreement.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says Addis Ababa has “no intention” of harming Egypt and neighbouring Sudan by running the new dam. But Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi recently told the UN General Assembly that “the Nile River must not be monopolised by one state”.

In this episode of The Stream, we look at what the GERD means for people living in the Nile basin and whether Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan can find common ground.

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