President Yoweri Museveni has encouraged Egypt to shift its focus from strict adherence to Nile Waters Agreements and concentrate on increasing the quantity of water in the Nile. His remarks were delivered during the 7th Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF) by Vice President Jessica Alupo.
Museveni emphasized the importance of prioritizing the augmentation of Nile water over the existing agreements, notably the Khartoum Agreement. His strategy involves environmental conservation and protection to enhance the volume of water in the Nile, enabling equitable use of the river among all basin countries for various purposes, including production and clean energy generation.
Disputes over the use of Nile River waters have led to various agreements, with differences primarily stemming from the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement of 1929 and the Khartoum Agreement of 1959. Egypt, backed by these agreements, has historically asserted its rights to Nile waters.
However, upstream countries, such as Uganda, have contested these agreements, arguing they were not fairly represented and have their own water needs. The Nile produces approximately 84 billion cubic meters of water annually, serving a basin population of 487.3 million people.
Museveni’s remarks coincide with Egypt’s reduced participation in the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), an organization established in 1999 to foster cooperation among Nile basin countries. The Cooperative Framework Agreement, aimed at governing the basin and its resources more inclusively, has been signed by only six out of the ten NBI member states.
At the same forum, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, a prominent Pan-Africanist and scholar, called for NBI members to engage at the grassroots level and work directly with affected communities, emphasizing shared responsibility in using the Nile River responsibly and fostering deeper transboundary relationships among basin nations.