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HomeOpinionEthiopia: The Issue of The Nile River’s Ownership

Ethiopia: The Issue of The Nile River’s Ownership

Tis Isat fall ( Fall on the Nile river . Photo : MFAE)

By Kidane Alemayehu

Although it is a well known fact that Ethiopia is the source of 86% of the Nile River water that cascades through the Sudan to Egypt, its ownership of the important natural resource including the soil that is carried from Ethiopia to the two countries is not accorded the necessary recognition. On the contrary, mainly due to colonial malfeasance, Ethiopia has not benefitted from the Nile River as adequately as it should.

According to works by Dr. Richard Pankhurst, Dr. Said and Dr. Minga, Ethiopia used to be paid 50,000 gold coins per annum by the Ottoman Turks for the use of the Nile River when they were ruling Egypt. However, when the British colonized Egypt and the Sudan, they applied practices that inappropriately reflected their ownership of the Blue Nile River. Later, Egypt and the Sudan followed the same policy and entered into agreements apportioning the water to themselves.

The main reason for the above predicament was mainly due to the fact that the Ethiopian Government had not acted on the preservation of its nation’s rights regarding the Blue Nile River. However, due to the important initiative undertaken for the construction of the important GERD Dam, Ethiopia is currently in the process of taking effective steps for exercising its rights to benefit from its major natural water resource.

A useful example to refer to here is my experience in Lesotho, a nation that is situated in the middle of South Africa and possesses immense water resources. I was involved, as a leader of a Lesotho delegation in 1977, in my capacity as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works, at a negotiation meeting in Cape Town regarding the utilization of Lesotho’s river by South Africa which resulted in an investment of over US$1 Billion and the payment of an average $50 million annually to Lesotho by South Africa. For more details, it would be useful to refer to my book: “My Journey with the United Nations, the Quest for the Horn of Africa’s Unity and Justice for Ethiopia”.

It is obviously important for the Ethiopian Government to ensure that the nation’s rights to benefit from its very important resource, the Blue Nile River, is fully protected and utilized for the benefit of the Ethiopian people with due regard to the needs of the Sudan and Egypt in compliance with international laws.

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  1. Egypt and Sudan must understand that this dam is not about generating electricity; it’s all about selling water. Well noted.

  2. Should this “The issue of the Nile River’s ownership” be brought up for discussions? as if it’s questionable? While the Nile River is unquestionably ETHIOPIAN! The pharaohs questioned and challenged GOD, let alone trying to convince the world that, “the Nile River originates from Egypt and belongs to Egypt” if that is not typically the pharaohs, then, what is?.


  3. i’ve read & have been following the GERD story since its inception & nowhere have i seen or heard that anyone thinks the water belongs to Ethiopia alone. everyone else, whether they are along the banks of either of the nile rivers or half way around the world (US, EU, ME like the saudis) thinks they have a say in how & whom shall have the rights to the nile.

    the IMF & WB want a say bc they want to lend Ethiopia money with all sorts of conditions on the GERDs operation that will not benefit Ethiopia. the US & EU want a say bc they support egypt who buys their weapons & other crap that only hurts itself & others around egypt. the Ethiopian Govt has made an excellent decision to exclude any foreign entity being involved in its financing so the GERD only belongs to her.

    well i have news for all of these so called actors or experts… the blue nile begins in Ethiopia, ie; the source is Ethiopia, so it’s hers alone.

    if any other bordering country or downstream country wants Ethiopias water, they can pay for it, plain & simple. payment could be trade of resources or just cash. whatever method they choose doesn’t matter as long as they pay for it.

    and another thing, Sudan is the only immediate downstream country to Ethiopia’s water, so Ethiopia should just have a water agreement with Sudan, then Sudan can deal with anyone else that wants Sudan’s water from there.

    the current PM of Ethiopia is a Nobel peace laureate & Ethiopia is the only nation on the whole continent that has never been a colony of a foreign power. egypt expects the only true sovereign nation in all africa to concede to a multi-time colonised heretic like egypt with a leader that came to power by murdering his own people bc he couldn’t get his way with a democratically elected leader, just like mubarek did before him. what a joke el-sisi the murderous dictator has become.

    its ethiopia’s water & she will decide how to use it!



  4. Let us be clear:
    QUOTE: “Lake Tana is a source of the Blue Nile in the Amhara Region in the North-Western Ethiopia” UNQUOTE And the Blue Nile is the major overwhelming contributor to the Nile that Sudan and Egypt benefit therefrom. FULL STOP

    Subject: “Ethiopia: The Issue of The Nile River’s Ownership” By Kidane Alemayehu, April 26, 2021

    Humble Comment, 8 May 2021
    Let us be clear:
    QUOTE: “Lake Tana is a source of the Blue Nile in the Amhara Region in the North-Western Ethiopia” UNQUOTE And the Blue Nile is the major overwhelming contributor to the Nile that Sudan and Egypt benefit therefrom., without an iota of animosity from Ethiopia, for centuries. FULL STOP

    From the above fact, what is the fuss foaming out from Egypt and followed by Sudan??? First, Let us be clear with Sudan’s desire. Sudan’s siding along with Egypt is understandable >> i.e. the untouchable belief in super natural force that is thicker than water. As to Egypt, the Leader of that Country made it abundantly clear that THE NILE BELONGS TO EGYPT. FULL STOP And no country on Earth would touch it without the exclusive permission of Superior Egypt. And to make it absolutely clear, the Leader of Egypt made it clear that no amount of screaming from BLACK AFRICANS would dare change the status quo of the NILE, obviously without the direct permission of the Mighty – Ancient- Civilized Land of the Pharaoh — the wonder of the universe!!!! CASE IS CLOSED — to the Black Ethiopia and other Black Africans.!!!!! OH! LORD HAVE MERCY UPON THOSE WHO FOAM UNCONSCIOUSLY.
    Post Script
    Warning for ALL: The consequential result of the above negative dangerous attitude — on the part of Egyptian Leader — can be catastrophic to ALL, regardless of ‘beliefs’ and other factors .


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