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The Post-1990s Water Diplomacy in Eastern Nile Basin: Changing the Power Asymmetry

There have been diplomatic tensions and instances of threatening and concerned rhetoric between the countries of the Nile, especially between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The main purpose of this paper is to examine the post 1990 water diplomacy in eastern Nile River basin in relation to changing the power asymmetry. For a long period of time in eastern Nile basin Egypt used to contain and influence the behavior of Sudan and other Nile River riparian states, particularly over issues pertaining to the utilization of the Nile’s waters. This paper argues the post 1990 multi-lateral water diplomacy especially NBI reduce the established power asymmetries, while contributing to the "sustainable socio economic development of all riparian’s through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile basin water resources. On the other hand, following NBI, Ethiopia shifted from ‘silent partner’ to ‘bargaining power’ so that it involved through a successive water deal among the nine countries. Consequently, in 2009, the discussions among the Nile riparian are on establishing a cooperative framework agreement reached and the constructions of Ethiopia Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile near the Ethiopian- Sudanese border transforming Ethiopia from “silent partner” to “influential partner and it is considered as a historic event not only for Ethiopia but also for the members of NBI’s. Drawing from lesson this article suggested that the Egyptians stand might not be consistence and the discussions and negation of Ethiopia on GERD project increasingly signaled a more flexible position on cooperating with the upstream states and harnessing its own water resources, away from Egyp.

Eastern Nile, Cooperation, Tension, Trans-Boundary, Diplomacy, Riparian

APA Style

Surafel Getahun Ashine. (2023). The Post-1990s Water Diplomacy in Eastern Nile Basin: Changing the Power Asymmetry. Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 6(3), 87-98.

ACS Style

Surafel Getahun Ashine. The Post-1990s Water Diplomacy in Eastern Nile Basin: Changing the Power Asymmetry. J. Polit. Sci. Int. Relat. 2023, 6(3), 87-98. doi: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20230603.13

AMA Style

Surafel Getahun Ashine. The Post-1990s Water Diplomacy in Eastern Nile Basin: Changing the Power Asymmetry. J Polit Sci Int Relat. 2023;6(3):87-98. doi: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20230603.13

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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