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The GERD from an Ethiopian Perspective: Actors, Interests and Instruments


For Ethiopia, proposals on sharing the Nile waters and the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) must demonstrate flexibility (that is, be legally non-binding) and distance from the order that existed before the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA, or Entebbe Agreement). The GERD represents a move by Ethiopia to enhance economic security, boost its resilience against drought and consolidate its newfound hydro-political influence towards ensuring equitable and reasonable use of the Nile waters by riparian states. Ethiopia has demonstrated intentionality and consistency in its Nile policy under which the GERD falls. The link between the GERD, Ethiopia’s internal crisis and its perception of an international bias tend to threaten the likelihood of a mutually agreed deal. However, building mutual trust, strategic concessions and de-internationalising the GERD talks to the barest minimum are necessary steps to break the stalemate.

Paper prepared in the framework of the project “African challenges to multilateralism: the geopolitics of the Nile between conflict and cooperation”, October 2022.

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