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Juba, Cairo agree on Nile resource management

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Sunday, November 29, 2020

President Salva Kiir and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi hold a joint press conference in Juba on Saturday, November 28, 2020/Lou Nelson/Eye Radio.

South Sudan and Egypt have agreed to engage in the management of water resources through the construction of dams to control the devastating floods in areas along the Nile River.

This was agreed upon during the meeting between President Salva Kiir and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Juba on Saturday.

The two leaders decided that Egypt will use its expertise to harvest water and improve the dredging of water sources.

Dredging includes improving existing water features; reshaping land and water features to alter drainage.

But experts warned that the system can have a major impact on the ecosystem.

It is not clear whether the two Presidents were referring to the resuscitation of the Jonglei Canal.

The Jonglei Canal project was launched and stopped in the 1980s due to the civil war in Sudan.

It was later found that the canal may reduce water savings in the swamp areas – especially the Sudd swamplands.

Geopolitical analysts say the canal will only benefit Egypt and Sudan, with the expected damage falling on South Sudan.

They assert –if constructed – it could lead to the collapse of fisheries, wildlife, drying of grazing lands, a drop of groundwater levels and a reduction of rainfall in the region.

On other matters, President Salva Kiir and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi agreed on increasing investments in energy, education, healthcare, and media.

The leaders also discussed ways to develop infrastructure through the construction of roads and railway system to boost trade.

President Kiir and Al-Sisi also deliberate on the contention between Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Al-Sisi maintains that the dam will eventually impact drinking water, household usage, agriculture, fishing, water transportation and tourism.

But Ethiopia argues that the dam will facilitate flood protection in the lower areas, improve irrigation, solids control and navigation, and increase its electricity production and export to neighboring countries.

It will be the largest hydropower project in Africa.

President Kiir underscored the need for dialogue to resolve issues that may contribute to regional instability.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his delegation traveled back to Egypt Saturday afternoon after a few hours’ visit to South Sudan.

It was his first state visit to the country.

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