GERD: The Existential Necessity – Cooperation Nexus

The peaceful resolution of conflicts is the reflection of Ethiopia’s agenda for development. That is why Ethiopia has committed to averting conflicts and endeavored to resolve disputes through negotiations, the fact that, war does not make one great.

The trajectory of the GERD shows Egypt has been shifting its demands since the inception of the Dam in 2011 and continued to evolve in different formats at various stages. More importantly, Ethiopia is approaching the 3rd round of filling of the Dam and preparing to start the African Union-led negotiation with TPLF, Egypt is perplexed and playing a disruptive role by manipulating internal conflict, providing support to insurgents, and conducting a proxy war at the border of Sudan and Ethiopia. Sadly, Sudan is caught between Cairo’s colonial command and Ethiopia’s existential necessity.

Egypt follows two approaches to ascertain its hegemony over the River Nile and detract GERD, (a) to utilize the sympathy of water vulnerability by its historical partners, mainly the USA and EU, and (b) the belief that Ethiopia’s internal problems are sufficient to hinder continuing the construction and operation of GERD, therefore, putting hands to intensify domestic conflicts in Ethiopia.

To that end, Egypt tried all the means in its power to stop the construction of the dam by convincing its partners as if GERD is an existential threat to the people of Egypt. It convinced its historical partners to believe that the project is contentious, so they withhold any financial arrangements in relation to GERD. However, what was transpired by the people of Ethiopia to fund the construction of the dam sent a big message to Egypt and its partners that Ethiopians are bold about their project and no earthly power can stop its construction. The message is also clear that plan ‘a’ could not yield any meaningful results as the dam is financed by the public as such nobody can stop the project within the sovereign territory of the country. Therefore, resorting to plan ‘b’ is what Egypt must entertain itself by feeding into the drivers of conflict in Ethiopia as a weapon to frustrate the development efforts of the people of Ethiopia.

It should be noted that, however, with a little cooperation with downstream neighbors, the filling of GERD could be an advantage for the whole region and a shift in power dynamics that will challenge Egypt’s posture as a regional political powerhouse. GERD is also a sign of meaningful resource-sharing that affirms that the Nile River is a regional resource that can be equitably utilized rather than a source of hegemonic power.

Seble Getachew



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