As Ethiopia prepares to open the continent’s largest hydroelectric dam, East African Catholic leaders emphasise water is a resource that must be shared equitably.
The Nile River passes through 11 countries, but the conflict over the dam pits Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan.
Ethiopia constructed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, one of the major Nile River tributaries. Ethiopia sees the dam as key to ending poverty for its more than 110 million people.
With concerns over conflict continuing to grow each day, Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel has urged leaders – including religious leaders – to share the resource.
“All must stand for the truth on equitable and just use of the Nile water as a God-given resource. Water is not only life, but life for all,” Cardinal Souraphiel told Catholic News Service.
In mid-July, the conflict escalated further after Ethiopia allegedly started filling a reservoir of the dam against the wish of Egypt and Sudan. Earlier, talks over the dam had ended without an agreement.
Ethiopia broke ground on the dam in 2011, but since then it has been a source of tensions in the Nile Basin region. Egypt and Sudan, which are downstream countries, feared the dam would regulate the flow of the Nile and limit water access for millions of their people.
Picture: A high school student reads his lesson notes as he sits by the bank of the Nile River in Omdurman, Sudan, on 15th February 2020. Catholic leaders in Africa are calling for dialogue among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over use of the waters of the Nile River. (CNS photo/Zohra Bensemra, Reuters).