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Assemblée Nationale du Burundi


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The National Assembly has adopted a draft law on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the framework agreement on cooperation in the Nile River Basin

publie le Wednesday 23 August 2023
parCommunication and Spokesperson’s Office

Ever since Burundi became independent, it has set itself the imperative of regional integration based on a political, economic, social and cultural vision. With this in mind, Burundi belongs to several regional and sub-regional groupings, including the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).

It is within this framework that the Honorable Members of Parliament, under the chairmanship of the Right Honorable Gelase Daniel NDABIRABE, Speaker of the National Assembly, met on August 23, 2023 to analyze the draft law on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the framework agreement on cooperation in the Nile Basin, which, at the end of the session, was adopted by 109 of the 110 sitting Members of Parliament. The Minister having agriculture and livestock in his attributions was the Government’s envoy to explain the reasons for this bill and provide related clarifications to the plenary.

The Nile Basin Initiative is a sub-regional organization comprising eleven countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda.

Six of these countries have signed the framework agreement. These are Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. The institutional basis for cooperation between the countries sharing the Nile Basin is founded on a shared vision of achieving sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable use of the Nile River’s waters and its benefits from the river’s common resources.

The Nile Basin Initiative is backed by international funding to implement projects and plan others. It helps to advance socio-economic development projects in countries sharing the basin while helping to reduce the conflicts and insecurity that can arise from the inequitable use of Nile River water by riparian countries.

The framework agreement on cooperation in the Nile basin has geopolitical implications. Indeed, it is well known that the water of the Nile River is the source of a "water war" between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. The Nile, Africa’s leading water resource, is coveted by all the countries it flows through. It’s worth recalling that, for a long time now, the project for a large dam in Ethiopia has been worrying Sudan and Egypt, downstream, who are afraid of seeing their access to Nile water reduced. It’s also worth pointing out that the sharing of the Nile’s waters dates back to 1929, when a treaty on the exclusive use of the Nile’s waters was signed between Egypt and Sudan. This agreement gave these two countries veto power over all hydraulic projects affecting the waters of the Nile, thus excluding all countries upstream of the river. In 1959, the renewed agreement largely favored Egypt’s use of the Nile’s waters. Thus, Egypt had gained hegemony over the waters of the Nile.

This hegemony was challenged in 2010 by a treaty signed by six Nile basin countries - Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya. The treaty authorized upstream countries to develop irrigation projects and hydroelectric dams without having to obtain prior approval from Egypt.

Implementation of the framework agreement, whose ratification bill was under consideration by the Honorable Members, requires six countries to deposit their instruments of ratification with the African Union. Four countries have already ratified the agreement, while Burundi and Kenya will shortly complete the formalities required for the clauses of the framework agreement to come into force.

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