Egypt’s former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation has criticised an agreement between the Al-Sisi government and Ethiopia, saying that it waives Egyptians’ rights over water from the River Nile. Dr. Mohamed Nasreddin pointed out that Egypt has basically followed Ethiopia’s instructions with regards to the controversial “Renaissance” mega-dam on the Nile which Addis Ababa insists is its own sovereign issue.
According to Nasreddin, Ethiopia has won a clear political victory in the absence of any real Egyptian understanding of the implications of the deal for the future of the Egyptian people. Ethiopia, he said, is the only country to benefit from the agreement which is not a “natural development of African relations”, but an explicit waiver of Egyptian rights over the Nile. “We hope to have economic cooperation with Ethiopia that does not include a pledge to import electricity generated from the dam,” he said.
“The [agreement] document did not mention the Egyptians’ rights,” added the former minister, “nor did it refer to any of the former agreements signed between the two countries.” He mentioned specifically the agreement signed in 1902 in which Ethiopia pledged not to build dams on the Blue Nile and Sobat River without Egypt’s and Sudan’s approval.
“Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, according to European, American and Egyptian studies, is overrated and will result in negative impacts on Egypt and Sudan,” Nasreddin explained. “Moreover, its efficiency in generating electricity will not exceed 27 per cent compared to the Aswan High Dam, which has an efficiency of 60 per cent.”