Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nile water match

Last fall I was just about to write a bit about Egypt threatening the Nile upstream countries not to increase their use of the river's water when... I don't know why I didn't. A 1929 treaty by the then British colonial rule reserved 80% of the Nile’s entire flow for Egypt and Sudan but May 2010 Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda agreed to disagree with the old treaty.
"Not only is Egypt the gift of the Nile, this is a country that is almost completely dependent on Nile water resources. We have a growing population and growing needs. There is no way we can accept this kind of threat."
 - spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Hossam Zaki

[New York Times / Egypt and Thirsty Neighbors Are at Odds Over Nile | NPR / Ethiopia Claims High Ground In Right-To-Nile Debate]

Today James M. Dorsey published an article about an Egyptian football tournament at European Journalism Center's TH!NK5 Water blog: Egypt Employs Soccer to Assert Its Nile Basin Water Rights. Can't believe I nearly missed that one - better follow TH!NK5! So, what does a football tournament have to do with water conflict?
"The tournament aims to create awareness among all countries sharing the Nile Basin, to safeguard the water resource for the benefit of future generations. [...] Let’s face it, football is politics. That’s why countries pour money into hosting tournaments”
 - senior Egyptian official.
Egypt won the tournament beating Uganda in the final. [CAF / The Pharaohs win the first Nile Basin tournament]

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