News / Africa

    Egypt Fears Diversion of Nile Waters for a New Dam

    Nile River in the fashionable suburb of Maadi in Cairo, Egypt (VOA's D. Bekheet)Nile River in the fashionable suburb of Maadi in Cairo, Egypt (VOA's D. Bekheet)
    x
    Nile River in the fashionable suburb of Maadi in Cairo, Egypt (VOA's D. Bekheet)
    Nile River in the fashionable suburb of Maadi in Cairo, Egypt (VOA's D. Bekheet)
    Peter Heinlein
    Egypt is expressing concern at Ethiopia’s move to divert water from the Nile River to allow construction of a massive hydroelectric dam.

    Egypt’s cabinet met Wednesday to discuss Ethiopia’s announcement that it was diverting the flow of the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the river.

    The meeting came a day after Ethiopian officials said the water would be diverted to make way for construction of a nearly $5 billion dam.  The hydropower facility will be the largest in Africa, producing as much electricity as six nuclear power plants.  It is scheduled for completion in 2017.

    A statement carried by Egypt’s state run MENA news agency said construction measures already in progress do not reflect any approval by Cairo to build the dam.

    Egypt’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Idriss, says his country is not surprised by the diversion.  It had been expected, he says.  But he suggested the unilateral announcement was premature, coming days before a panel of experts from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia releases a long-awaited study on the impact of the dam.

    “These are technical issues and you cannot just give judgmental or impressionistic view on these implications.  That’s why the three countries formed this panel of experts which include a national expert and international experts of high reputation, and this panel is almost completing its work is entrusted with making this scientific assessment of the implications on Egypt and Sudan and based on the report of this panel, the three countries will decide on how to proceed on this matter,” Idriss said.

    Ethiopian officials this week sought to assure the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, that the 550 meter diversion or shifting of the river from its natural course would not mean any loss of water, and could be a boon to future regional energy needs.   Ethiopian officials emphasized that water levels would not be affected by the diversion.

    But Ambassador Idriss said Egypt’s almost total dependence on the Nile for its water supply makes any potential disruption a national security issue.

    “The Nile for us is not just a river.  It is the only source of life in Egypt.  So any impact on the water reaching Egypt is going to affect Egyptian water security and the life of the Egyptian people, and this is of great concern,” Idriss said.

    The envoy said Egypt and Sudan will insist on being a party to any decisions that will affect the river’s flow.

    “The important issue is how the three countries will set the course for moving forward on the project based on the agreed principle of shared benefit and no harm and win-win.  The Egyptian side insists on fully abiding by these principles and these commitments,” Idriss said.

    Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Debretsion Gebremichael this week said the Renaissance Dam could begin producing electricity as early as next year.  Responding to the concerns of the downstream countries, he told the Bloomberg news agency, “This is an international river and we will try our best to accommodate their interests."

    The Blue Nile originates high in the mountains of Ethiopia.  It provides 85 percent of Nile's water, joining with the White Nile at the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where it flows north to the Mediterranean Sea.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora