River Nile dam,Egypt & Sub-Saharan countries,growing strategic ties

River Nile dam & growing strategic ties between Egypt & Sub-Saharan countries

Last updated on September 11th, 2021 at 07:57 am

Egypt after a being sucked into Israel – Arab conflict for long, has decided to return to its original stakes in Africa, and more specifically in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Egypt is now trying to strengthen its military and diplomatic ties with other African countries as disputes with Ethiopia continue to mount over building a huge dam over one tributary of the River Nile. 

Past few years have seen a new wave of re-engagements by Egypt particularly with countries in the Nile Basin. Recent months have witnessed Egypt signing a series of arrangements on military and economic fronts with Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Rwanda.

Sudan already is an arena for Cairo with substantial integration where recently joint military exercise were conducted. Egypt has linked its power grid with that of Sudan with further plans to combine railway networks as well. 

READMORE: Sudan’s Prime Minister has warned of military schisms

Tanzania is another nation up in relations with Egypt. Cairo is heavily investing Julius Nyerere hydroelectric dam on the Rufiji River, indicating its willingness to engage in developing in Nile basin nations. Nile is the only major water source for Egypt’s drinking and agriculture requirements. 

The reason behind this drastic and dramatic change in Egypt’s foreign policy is the highly controversial dam being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd). Egypt is clear that it is not opposing the idea of Ethiopian dam, but is just wary of the fact if the latter steps back from legal bindings around water sharing and its operations. 

Though the change in Egypt’s policy in the direction and return to forming allies in Sub-Saharan region is long overdue, experts say that it is very little and very late. Also, canoodling with guns and cannons might not be the only direction to travel and modern politics too must be catered to.

“Clout in modern politics is not just guns and cannons,” argues Walaa Bakry, an academic at the UK’s University of Westminster and a business consultant. “Security agreements with some of the Nile Basin countries such as Burundi, Rwanda or Uganda is a good thing, but will not give Egypt the clout it wants,” he adds. He argues that strong trade ties can achieve more, pointing out the bare minimum trade Egypt has with all nine countries in the Nile basin.