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South Sudan is preparing to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement of the Nile Basin countries, sometimes known as the Entebbe agreement, which aims to replace colonial-era deals that awarded the lion’s share of the Nile waters to Egypt and Sudan.
South Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Paul Mayom Akec, made the announcement at the annual Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) conference held in South Sudan, Juba.
Akec confirmed that South Sudan will start implementing the agreement as soon as parliament ratifies it, describing the signing of the agreement as “inevitable”.
The Ethiopian Minister for Water and Energy, Alemayehu Tegenu, called on “all countries of the basin to finalize the process of ratification as soon as possible”, adding that it was a “very critical time in the history of the Nile basin.”
Early this week, the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, met here in Addis Ababa to discuss the ongoing contentious issue of the Nile.
The two ministers reiterated their commitment to strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries and coordinate their efforts to reach an understanding regarding all outstanding issues in a manner of trust and openness, building on positive developments of their relations.
The two parties agreed, in regards to the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GRD), to immediately initiate a new round of consultations among Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, on how to move forward with the implementation of its recommendations, including the recommended studies to be conducted.
Dr. Tedros reassured his Egyptian counterpart regarding the possible effects of the Grand Renaissance Dam on Egypt’s water use by indicating that the dam is being built in a way that addresses Egypt’s water security concerns.
During the annual conference, South Sudan also announced that it has chosen more than a dozen potential dam sites along the White Nile River.
Moreover, Uganda signed a contract granting China’s Sinohydro Group Ltd. a tender to build a large hydropower dam on the White Nile River at a price of USD 1.65 billion, reviving a project stalled for years by lack of money. The construction of the 600-megawatt Karuma dam in the east African country is expected to start after two weeks. Last week, Uganda said China had provided credit worth USD 500 million to help pay for the construction of the Karuma dam.