Tanzania, Egypt agree on commission

Saturday December 1 2018

Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa. He said the delay in establishing the Nile Basin Commission is hampering the implementation of projects in member states. PHOTO | THE CITIZEN 

By APOLINARI TAIRO
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Tanzania is pushing for the establishment of the Nile Basin Commission, and reforms in the management of the area to speed up implementation of projects utilising the river.

Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the delay in establishing the commission, almost 10 years after it was proposed, is hampering the implementation of projects in the Nile Basin member states.

Mr Majaliwa was speaking in Tanzania at a meeting of senior officials from 11 member states of the Nile Basin Initiative to discuss the status of the projects.

Tanzania’s Minister for Water Prof Makame Mbarawa said there are renewed efforts to establish a commission to speed up implementation of development programmes among the Nile Basin member states.

Ethiopian Minister for Water, Energy and Irrigation Seleshi Bekele said that the Nile Basin population is projected to double to one billion in less than two decades.

He added that member countries should come up with common strategies to prepare for and cope with climate change by putting in place measurement systems, standards and analytical frameworks to monitor, plan and manage the Nile.

Tanzania and Egypt have agreed to revive the Joint Commission on the River Nile, which has been dormant for the past 20 years.

During his visit to Tanzania in August last year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held talks with the President John Magufuli on rights for the use of the Nile’s water.

In a joint communiqué after the visit, President El-Sisi said his government was committed to work with Tanzania on major water projects, irrigation and in the health sector.

Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania ratified the Co-operative Framework Agreement, 2010, that established the Nile Basin Commission.

Germany, through its international development agency, is funding the $6.7 million wetland protection project.

Key projects

Construction of the 80-Megawatt Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project is among key projects under the Nile Basin co-operation.

It is shared by Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. The project is located on the Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria.

The Rwanda Energy Group said China Geo-Engineering Corporation, Jianxi Water and Hydro Construction Ltd and Austria's Andritz Hydro will carry out civil, electronic and mechanical works on the power plant, which is expected to be commissioned in 2019.

The development of the Regional Rusumo Hydroelectric Project was revived in 2006.

The project design is a Run-of-River Development Scheme, which maintains the natural flow of the river and does not significantly modify the natural environment.

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