Heart-to-Heart


A side chat between Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, and Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister of Ethiopia, during a regional summit held on June 22, 2017, in Entebbe, to dialogue over the issue of the Nile. Convened for the first time in Uganda, Museveni described challenges in the utilisation of the Nile water as “strategic”, according to diplomatic sources. The rapid growth of population, lack of access to electricity in the upstream countries, de-industrialisation in upstream countries, their continued dependence on subsistence agriculture, and the destruction of the environment which the Nile is built on, were some of Museveni’s concerns that led him to call the regional summit.

It was an event attended by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, president of Egypt, as well as vice presidents of Sudan, Burundi, South Sudan, DR Congo and ministers from Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Burundi will most likely hold the next meeting as the next Chair of the Nile Council of Ministers.

Museveni has tried to hammer on the ideals of “industrialisation” and “transformation by maintaining the environment” but using the established institution, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), which was formed 18 years ago, a senior diplomat who attended the meeting disclosed to Fortune, was the key message stressed by the Heads of Delegation of the Nile Basin countries.



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