(Almonitor) CAIRO, Egypt — In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor at his office in Cairo, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib said that Egyptian support for technical cooperation projects for the development of the Upper Nile have not stopped. According to him, Egypt is continuing with its bilateral projects in Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan, and even in Ethiopia. However, because of legal problems, it is a different matter when it comes to the cooperation projects that were being carried out under the umbrella of the Nile Basin Initiative. Abdul Muttalib noted that his ministry is determining whether it is physically possible to link the Nile and Congo rivers; the legal dilemmas of linking the two rivers are being left to legal specialists.
The interview follows:
Al-Monitor: How do you see the future of cooperation at the technical level between Egypt and the Nile Basin countries, and with Ethiopia specifically? What are the most prominent joint projects for the development of the Upper Nile that are still ongoing? What projects have stalled after Egypt froze its membership in the Nile Basin Initiative?
Abdul Muttalib: Cooperation is continuing, and this is a very positive thing with regard to the future of Egypt’s relations with the Nile Basin countries. Evidence of the continuation of this cooperation was translated in a practical way during my recent visit to Uganda to open well projects to provide a number of areas with drinking water. This came as part of an Egyptian program, granting $4.5 million to remove weeds and build berths for fishermen on the shores of Lake Victoria, to make fishing easier. And Ugandans in the region are very grateful toward the Egyptian government and the Ministry of Irrigation. There are similar agreements with the Tanzanian government, and we are working on preparing to open a number of wells to provide clean drinking water in underserved areas. Moreover, we are working to ensure these wells operate on solar power, to save them expenses, and instead of having to be manually operated. We are also working with Congo on a number of new bilateral projects. Read full story on Almonitor …