Uganda’s northern town, Jinja, which promotes itself as source of the Nile, hosted the annual Nile Day on February 22, 2012 with ministers of water from the Nile riparian countries including from Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Kenya and Uganda’s Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.
Indicating his country’s commitment to expand its benefit from the Nile water, the Vice president of Uganda urged members of the Nile riparian countries to reexamine their commitment for further cooperation.
The annual Nile Day, which is celebrated to remember the formation of Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in February 22, 1999 in Tanzania, is organized by the Nile Basin Discourse Forum, a network of civil society organizations from the 10 countries of the Nile Basin namely, Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The network aims to achieve positive influence over the development of projects and programs under NBI and other Nile-related programs.
After ten years of discussion among Nile countries ministers of water and heads of states and implementing small-scale trust building projects on the Nile, NBI has concluded its mission in 2010 delivering the Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement as an output, which only Egypt and Sudan refused to sign so far. While, Burundian Minister of Water, Environment, Land Management and Urban Planning, Jean-Marie Nibirantije, inked the Nile Treaty on behalf of the Government of Burundi on Monday, 28 February 2011 in the capital city of Bujumbura.
This brings the total number of the Nile Basin States that have so far signed the agreement to six. Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda signed in May 2010 while DRC Minister of Environment and Lands Stanilas Kamanzi indicated this week that the his country has planned to sign the agreement.
Egypt’s Ahram online reported this week that Egyptian minister of irrigation and water resources, Hisham Kandil, said on Monday meeting with Ain Shams University professors that neither Egypt nor Sudan would sign any water-sharing agreement not in the interests of the Egyptian and Sudanese people. He also stressed that an earlier framework agreement – signed by a handful of upstream countries in 2010 – had not been obligatory for Egypt or Sudan, stating definitively that neither Cairo nor Khartoum would ever sign on to the agreement.
On the other hand, Ethiopia, which contributes over 80 percent of water to the Nile and which is promised by Egypt 2 billion US dollars investment to establish industry zone, announced this week its readiness to start implementing the Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement signed by the majority.
Head of the Nile Basin Administration Directorate at the ministry Fekahmed Negash told reporters during Nile Day celebration on Wednesday that the Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement, signed by six riparian countries, would soon be implemented. According to Fekahmed, the agreement would be a law for each country after it was endorsed by the respective countries’ parliaments or heads of state.