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27.11.2021 03:42 News >> South Sudan Hosts Nile Council Of Ministers Meeting

South Sudan Hosts Nile Council Of Ministers Meeting

Country will benefit from membership in NBI through engagement, deliberation on sustainable use of Nile water: Official.

South Sudan hosted the Nile Council of Ministers (NILE-COM) in Juba on Friday -- the 29th annual meeting to evaluate Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) programs that provide strategic guidance for the future operation of the partnership.
Ministers in charge of Water Affairs from the 10 Nile Basin member states that include Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda gathered in the capital.
Speaking during the opening of the meeting, South Sudan's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, said the meeting will witness a change in the top leadership of the group, with the chairman of the Nile Council of Ministers moving from Rwanda to South Sudan.
"The government of South Sudan will benefit from its membership in the NBI through engagement, deliberation and consultation on optimal, sustainable and equitable use of the Nile Basin water," said Gatkuoth. "As a country, we are deeply honored to host you as we meet to deliberate on important issues such as the status of Nile Basin cooperation, review progress made in projects implementation, consider work plans as well as provide overall strategic guidance in the Nile Basin Initiative agenda."
He said the group faces challenges of capacity shortages in transboundary water resource management and the basin requires cooperation from member states.
"We need to cooperate and work together hand in hand. We will not walk alone but instead join hands with strategic guidance with other ministers in charge of water affairs in the Nile basin," he said.
Mamdouh Ahmed Antar, Chairman of the Nile Water sector in the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, urged countries under the NBI to use diplomacy to settle disputes that may arise.
"Egypt is very committed to cooperating with all countries to prove a win-win solution to all kinds of differences that could separate us," said Antar.
He said Egypt intends to enhance its communication channels with countries under the NBI to help diffuse any tensions that may arise about the Nile River.
Ethiopian Minister for Water Resources Habtamu Itefa said Addis Ababa needs water to improve electricity coverage, urging all countries to work toward the common goal of prosperity.
"The coverage of electricity is less than 15% in Ethiopia, whether it is in urban or rural areas," he said.
Itefa encouraged members to take advantage of available water resources to prosper their populations.
Yasir Mohammed, representative from Sudan, said the Nile remains a source of income for countries in the Nile Basin.
"I believe this event is very important to enhance cooperation among the Nile Basin Countries. The River Nile has always remained as a source of life for our countries, and our people for agriculture, drinking, electricity and for development," he said. "We need to work together collectively to keep the River Nile for the next generation."
Egypt and Ethiopia have been involved in a dispute about Addis Ababa's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which upon completion will become the largest dam on the continent.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have no considerable groundwater reserves, nor do they desalinate.
Nearly 70% of their water comes from the Nile Basin. -



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