The River Nile and Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam: Challenges to Egypt’s Security Approach



Highlighting the historical and contemporary trajectories of Egypt’s securitized positions over the river Nile, the article argued that new reality has emerged that needs to be dealt with by new means to ensure the benefit of all parties claiming shares over the Nile river. Both natural dynamics and man-made developments on the Nile water in the riparian countries pose unprecedented challenges to Egypt’s share of the Nile waters. While the river is hosting immense pressures from climate change and population growth of the riparian states, the construction of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam will reduce the flow of the Nile and this will have a great impact on the downstream countries, particularly Egypt. Meanwhile Egypt has been sticking to a security approach by presenting any developments in River Nile by upstream countries as a national security threat. The article argues that the policy of securitization of the Nile issue and reliance on colonial agreements are neither workable in modern times nor would it enable Egypt to maintain its historical water share from the river in the face of the present and future challenges. It recommends Egypt to de-securitize its policy on the Nile matter and engage in normal political negotiation process of bargaining towards multilateral solution for the benefit of all parties, and for Ethiopia to recognize Egypt’s need for water based on reasonable and fair distribution of resources to ensure mutual understanding, sustainable development, as well as peace and stability in Africa.


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