River Nile Dam: South Africa’s President, Ramaphosa to Mediate in Dispute

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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has invited South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to mediate in its dispute with Egypt over the future of the Grand Renaissance Dam.

It is not clear what role South Africa will play in the dispute which the United States is already helping to mediate.

Construction of the dam is set for completion this year and it will become Africa’s biggest hydroelectric power plant.

At the centre of the dispute is the speed at which to fill up the mega-dam on the River Nile.

Ethiopia wants to do it in six years, but Egypt has proposed a period of at least 10 years – fearing that a shorter span will affect the downstream flow of the river it relies on for 90% of its water.

The latest round of talks on the dispute ended in a deadlock last week and negotiations are set to resume in Washington on Monday.

Prime Minister Abiy told journalists in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, that President Ramaphosa had been invited to mediate in his capacity as the incoming chairperson of the African Union.

He said: “Ethiopia always believes in win-win approach with Egypt and Sudan. The request to President Ramaphosa [is because] he is a good friend for Ethiopia and Egypt, also as the incoming AU chair. He can make [facilitate] a discussion between both parties so as to solve the issue peacefully.”

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