African Anglicans Call for Peace in Nile Dam Dispute

The Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) released a statement calling for a peaceful resolution of differences between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan over Ethiopian plans for filling the Grand Renaissance Dam currently being constructed on the world’s longest river. The River Nile – A Gift from God was addressed to the council of ministers of the African Union and circulated to the heads of state of all African Union member nations.

According to a January BBC report, the Grand Renaissance Dam will be used to operate Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. It will take years to fill the dam’s 7,200 billion square meter reservoir, and the Egyptian government fears that current Ethiopian plans to fill it in six years will disastrously lower river levels downstream. Egypt depends on the Nile for 90% of its drinking water and farmers use the river’s waters heavily for irrigation.

Ethiopia has announced that plans to begin filling the dam next month, at the beginning of the rainy season. The UN Security Council has agreed to meet on Monday, at the request of Egypt’s president, to try to restart stalled negotiations between the two nations.

The CAPA statement aims to encourage a compromise between the three nations who share the storied river. “We… pray and urge the three countries of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to realise and accept the fact that the Nile is a gift from God to the people who are living along its banks,” the statement said, “and that each has a mutual responsibility to steward the river and its resources for the mutual benefit of all.”

“We urge the governments of the three nations to think each other with respect to the opportunities of the use for the resources of the Nile so that no nation suffers as a result of the building of the dam or any other related activities. We are confident that a solution can be reached through friendly and mutual negotiations having in mind the value of the Nile as God’s gift and each other’s role as a steward of God’s gift.”

The Most Rev. Albert Chama, Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Central Africa and CAPA’s chair, signed the statement on behalf of CAPA’s member provinces: Burundi, Congo, Indian Ocean, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Southern Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and West Africa; and the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.


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