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Egypt to sue Ethiopia over economic losses caused by Tigray unrest

December 23, 2020 at 10:45 am

Ethiopians call for the end of the government’s military actions in the northern Tigray region in front of the US State Department in Washington, DC, on November 9, 2020 [NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt plans to file an international lawsuit in an effort to protect Egyptian investments in Ethiopia which have been negatively affected by the unrest in the Tigray region of the country, an official has said.

More than $10 million has been lost by Egyptian investors so far in Ethiopia. Following a meeting with Ethiopian officials to discuss the matter last week, head of the Egyptian Industrial Zone in Ethiopia, Alaa Al-Saqati, said no satisfactory response was given to allow factories to resume production, leaving them closed for over four months.

“Egyptian investments amounting to about $600 million are threatened in Ethiopia because the latter did not facilitate the work of investors in various regions,” investments are also affected by the complications of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis, he explained to Iram News. He said he expected Egyptian investments in Ethiopia to increase if an agreement is reached between Cairo and Addis Ababa about the dam file.

Ethiopia is building a $5 billion dam near the border with Sudan it says will provide the country with much-needed electricity and economic regeneration. Egypt believes it will restrict its access to Nile waters.

Egypt is almost entirely dependent on Nile water, receiving around 55.5 million cubic metres a year from the river, and believes that filling the dam will affect the water it needs for drinking, agriculture, and electricity.

READ: Sudanese PM visits Ethiopia to discuss Tigray fighting

Cairo wants Ethiopia to guarantee Egypt will receive 40 billion cubic metres or more of water from the Nile. Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele said Egypt has abandoned this demand, but Egypt insists it hasn’t and issued a statement to this effect.

There is also an unresolved issue over how fast the dam will be filled, with Egypt fearing if it is filled too quickly, it could affect the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam.

Fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region pitted the federal government against regional authorities last month.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory in the fight. However, clashes have continued.

The fighting in Tigray has led to more than 52,000 Ethiopian refugees fleeing to Sudan, mostly in Al-Qadarif.