The Nile Bargain


Stanislav Mezentsev, Pavel Tsarev


The article analyses the serious regional crisis connected with the end of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. This project, due to be launched in July 2020, sparks tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt. Both sides are doing their utmost to get international support for their respective positions. Cairo urges not to fill the Dam before settling all the disputed issues. Addis Ababa wants to do it as quickly as possible to make the Dam operational. However, the window of diplomatic opportunities for a consensus is just about to close. Egypt threatens to use military force, and Ethiopia is ready to mobilize one million people to protect the Dam. Who is in the right? Which country is stronger? Could Egypt and Ethiopia really go to war over water? The authors try to answer these questions, analyzing the legislative base of the Nile case, the military potential of both countries and the attitude of the main world actors towards this problem.

Comparing available open source data, authors conclude that a war between the two states is almost impossible. What is happening now around the Dam looks more like a big bargain, and its subject is the Egypt’s future chances to remain one of the main regional and continental political and economic players. There are only two ways to delay filling the dam: monetary compensation from Egypt or future destabilization of internal situation in Ethiopia.


Egypt, Ethiopia, Nile, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)




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