BOOK REVIEW: Longest river inspires experts to write about it

Saturday November 4 2017

Bridge across the River Nile, by Prof Mark Mwandosya

Bridge across the River Nile, by Prof Mark Mwandosya. The longest river in the world has inspired three African water experts to write books about it, sharing their insight and knowledge. PHOTO | JEAN-PIERRE AFADHALI | NMG 

By JEAN-PIERRE AFADHALI
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The longest river in the world has inspired three African water experts to write books about it, sharing their insight and knowledge.

Three books were launched last week in Kigali, on the sidelines of the Nile Development Forum that brought together experts to discuss issues affecting the river, which traces its sources to Rwanda and Uganda.

Burundi, the DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Eritrea took part in the discussions.

Realising the water security of the Nile Basin States: Balancing the existing water uses and potential water uses, was written by Dr John Rao Nyaoro from Kenya, who has over 35 years of experience in the water sector. Dr Nyaoro writes about negotiations among riparian countries, how resources have been used and how best they can be used in future.

“You cannot build another River Nile, but you can come up with mechanisms on how best you can use the existing water,” he said at the launch.

Bridge across the River Nile, by Prof Mark Mwandosya, a former Tanzanian minister of environment, documents treaties in 20th century Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.
His book covers history, conflicts and co-operation over the Nile waters.

“There is no way to develop our basin than to co-operate,” Prof Mwandosya said.

The first version of the book was written in Kiswahili under the title Daraja juu ya Mto Nile.

Stories about the Nile would not be complete without including Ethiopia’s controversial dam that will be the biggest in Africa when it’s complete.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Nile Basin: Implications for trans-boundary water co-operation, was edited by Dr Zeray Yihdego, Prof Alistair Rieu-Clarke and Dr Ana Elisa Cascao.

The book is a collection of narratives and analysis from economists and policy experts on the dam that has Egypt and Sudan on one side and Ethiopia on the other. It looks at the opportunities and challenges surrounding the Ethiopian dam project through law, political science, hydrology, and trans-boundary water resource management between the three countries.

Some of the key challenges affecting the Nile are increasing water demand, rapid population growth and climate change. By 2050, the population of Nile Basin Countries is projected to more than double from the current 400 million to one billion.