Uganda has assumed the leadership of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) for the next year, succeeding Tanzania. This transition took place during the 31st Nile Council of Ministers Meeting (NILECOM) held in Kampala, Uganda. Uganda, which hosts the NBI secretariat, brings together all ten countries within the Nile River basin.
The outgoing NBI Executive Director, Sylvester Matemu, initiated Uganda’s nomination, supported by South Sudan, Rwanda, DR Congo, and Sudan, without any objections from the member countries. To secure its leadership position, Uganda cleared its subscription arrears, paying them just a day before the meeting.
It’s worth noting that Uganda previously chaired the NILECOM in 2016. During the same meeting, Tanzania was elected as the English-language rapporteur, and Burundi was selected as the French-language rapporteur. This NILECOM event is critical in leading up to the upcoming Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF), now in its 7th edition, scheduled to commence at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala.
The responsibilities of the NBI leader include ensuring adherence to NBI agreement protocols by all members, promoting cooperation and consensus, ensuring the sustainable use of the Nile River, and monitoring the implementation of agreed-upon initiatives.
In his acceptance speech, Sam Cheptoris, Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment, highlighted Uganda’s past achievements as NILECOM leaders, including convening the first and only Nile Basin Heads of State meeting to date. He also emphasized Uganda’s commitment to addressing challenges that could disrupt cooperation among NBI members and pledged to engage with Egypt to foster unity within the NBI.
Hani Sewilam, the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation for the Republic of Egypt, emphasized Egypt’s pivotal role in establishing the Nile Basin Initiative and stressed the importance of cooperation and a shared vision among Nile Basin nations. Egypt expressed hope for a return to inclusive cooperation and genuine consensus, enabling the utilization of untapped resources for the collective benefit of the region. Egypt is ready to cooperate with other countries under Uganda’s leadership, provided the organization returns to its originally agreed principles.
However, Sewilam also pointed out that due to the organization’s present division from the agreed decision-making procedures by consensus, they were unable to adopt the items on the agenda and their outcomes.
Outcomes of the 31st Nile Council of Ministers Meeting
|Leadership Transition||Uganda has taken over the leadership of the Nile Basin Initiative from Tanzania.|
|Nomination and Support||Uganda’s nomination was initiated by Sylvester Matemu and supported by several countries.|
|Financial Commitment||Uganda cleared its subscription arrears to secure the leadership position.|
|NILECOM Roles||Tanzania was elected as the English-language rapporteur, and Burundi as the French-language rapporteur.|
|Upcoming NBDF||The Nile Basin Development Forum, in its 7th edition, is scheduled to commence in Kampala.|
Responsibilities of NBI Leader
|Ensure adherence to NBI agreement protocols by members||Ensure that member countries follow the agreements and protocols of the Nile Basin Initiative.|
|Promote cooperation and consensus||Encourage collaboration and agreement among member nations.|
|Ensure sustainable use of the Nile River||Work to protect and sustainably manage the Nile River, a vital resource for the region.|
|Monitor implementation of agreed initiatives||Oversee and ensure the execution of initiatives and agreements reached by the member countries.|