The Nile Rivalry and Its Peace and Security Implications: What Can the African Union Do?

The key points addressed in this policy brief are as follows: (1) Addressing Ethiopia’s and the other parties concern, the GERD and the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) signify a paradigmatic shift in relationships among Nile riparian countries and offers a mechanism for collaborative partnerships in accordance with international law and with the close support of the global community. (2) The dispute about the Nile, the CFA and GERD is being manipulated by nationalistic politics to advance their domestic power struggle. The interdependence of riparian states supported by CFA mechanisms should be sufficient to prevent conflicts among them. (3) The integration of early warning systems pertaining to climate, weather, and environmental changes together with conflict early warning procedures should be paramount to building predictive and responsive capabilities in such river basins. (4) The Nile and GERD can be an integrative opportunity for creating interdependence among the riparian countries. The envisaged GERD and any other hydroelectric projects on the river could be considered as integrative factors and could effectively enhance opportunities for geo-political interdependence. (5) The chairpersons of the African Union and the African Union Commission may consider calling a meeting of all the riparian countries to seek a means of reaching “a win-win” Pan African solution to this problem. (6) To avoid and reduce the triggers of conflicts over trans-boundary water resources and enhance cooperation, the AU needs to elaborate a continental mechanism for mediation and dispute resolution on water resources.