Wednesday, May 28, 2014

State to review framework of pact on Nile basin

27th May 2014
Bernard Membe, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations
The government will soon convene a meeting to review the comprehensive framework agreement on the Nile basin which will ensure that it does not affect water users in Egypt and other countries, the Parliament was told here yesterday.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Bernard Membe said the meeting will be convened in Dar es Salaam in July this year. Countries expected to attend the meeting include Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Sudan and Tanzania as the host.

The minister was responding to a supplementary questions raised by Mji Mkongwe legislator, Ibrahim Sanya who had wanted to know when will the Nile basin agreement signed in 1929 be amended.

He said the agreement favors Egypt and Sudan when it comes to water uses than any other countries along the Nile River.

Membe said the 1929 Nile basin agreement has four components which include providing 55 percent of water rights to Egypt, 15 percent of water rights to Sudan, Veto power on the uses of water to Egypt.

“Apart from Egypt and Sudan, no other country was allowed to utilize the Nile River waters in construction of dams, irrigation or drinking,” he said.

He in a meeting held in Entebbe, Uganda in 2009/2010 it was agreed that nine countries would utilize the water in Nile River.

Membe said the Nile basin has also increased tourism activities between Tanzania and Egypt as Egypt Air had added two direct flights from Tanzania to other parts of the world to ensure Tanzania expands the tourism sector. He said for the past two years Tanzania has received over 13,000 tourists from Egypt.

Earlier in her basic question, Special Seats legislator, Amina Mwadau asked the government to explain whether the recent political changes in Egypt would affect Tanzania on the uses of Nile basin resources.

She wanted to know which business sectors would be affected with the political changes in Egypt.

Responding to the question, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mahadhi Maalim said Tanzania did not ratify the 2010 Comprehensive Framework agreement on the Nile basin.

He said Egypt with a population of over 70 million people highly depend on the Nile River since a big part of the country is a desert with minimal rainfall.

“We think it is much better to rethink whether it was fair for all nine countries to have similar uses of Nile water or not,” he said.

He also said Egypt was doing well in irrigation system which depended on the Nile River.

“A total of 78 million Egyptians depend on the Nile River hence without Nile there is no Egypt. If the water level goes down, then the Egyptians will not be able to do any irrigation farming,” he said.

Mahadhi said in order for the agreement to become functional, six countries will have to ratify it when the political situation in Egypt is calm. 

No comments:

Post a Comment