Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have agreed to fill the Nile dam within two weeks following an agreement after meditations by the African Union. A statement from the Ethiopian Prime Ethiopia will begin filling the Nile dam within the next two weeks, as the three countries finalize on pending matters on the agreement and continues with construction.
The AU meeting, chaired by South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa brings a period of respite, after rising tensions between the three countries. Before the meeting, Ethiopia had resolved to fill the reservoir without an agreement from Egypt and Sudan, which could have escalated further conflict. Ethiopia’s agreement to wait therefore reduced the mounting pressure between the countries.
Experts believe that Ethiopia’s urgency to fill the Nile dam reservoir within the next two months stem from the rainy season, where the river will be near capacity thus softening the blow for Egypt.
The AU meeting also offered guarantees of multilateral decisions towards the Nile dam. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi confirmed that “all parties pledged not to take any unilateral action by filling the dam without an agreement.”
According to Al-Jazeera, the AU meeting solved more than 90 percent of the dam’s issues. Further, a committee of representatives from the three countries would fine-tune on legal and technical touchpoints, submitting a progress report in a week.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a hydroelectric megaproject worth $4.6 billion, holds vital interests of the three countries. For Ethiopia, the project is a lifeline to alleviating poverty for its population. On the other hand, Egypt relies on the Nile for 90% of its water supply, fearing that the dam will temporarily reduce the available water downstream. Similarly, Sudan stands to gain from the deal as it guarantees water access to its Roseires dam.