From the unpublished material: 2019 January 01
Several countries may be afraid for water scarcity because of their population growth and higher temperatures and more droughts alternated with uncontrollable many devastating rainstorms.
For Egypt for example, unless the current fertility rate of 3.47 changes by 2030, Egypt’s population is expected to grow from the current 97 million to 128 million. This demographic growth has grave implications as it comes at a time of unprecedented challenges in the climate which in turn has worrisome implications for loss of arable land, rising sea levels and depletion of scarce water resources.
The government thinks birth control will help and therefore launched in the second half of 2018 a campaign named ‘Kefaya etnen’ (‘Two is enough’), through which it is trying to raise the awareness on controlling birth rates and having no more than two children per family.
Matteo Colombo, associate research fellow in the MENA Programme at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) said
“I think this is a great initiative from the Egyptian government but it definitely needs to permeate the society, and this will not be easy.”
Egypt – according to Colombo – should therefore aim to open regional forums focusing on cooperation in a broad sense.
Cooperation among countries sharing this watercourse is key. For example, Ethiopia could need more water to produce more electricity, which could in turn diminish the amount of flow towards Cairo. Indeed, Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is currently under construction, will be the biggest dam on the African continent and could diminish the amount of water flowing to Egypt.
When the Nile flood recedes, the silt – a sediment rich in nutrients and minerals and carried by the river – remains behind, fertilising the soil and creating arable land. Natural fertility is actually the Nile’s biggest legacy for Egyptians.
“The problem for Egypt is that, from a geographical point of view, it does not hold the knife on the side of the handle,”
“For this reason, Egypt cannot fail to reach an agreement with neighbouring countries. What Cairo could do is to create a sort of ‘regional forum’, a ‘platform’, where the various disputes with neighbouring countries are discussed and perhaps include other topics in the talks,”
“If other themes were included, Egypt could have some more voices than Sudan and Ethiopia, while if the discussion remains relegated to the theme of water, the margin of action for Egypt would be limited.”
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