Kadaga re-assures Egypt on Nile Basin

Thursday October 17 2019

Speaker of Parliament of Uganda Rebecca Kadaga

Speaker of Parliament of Uganda Rebecca Kadaga with her counterpart Speaker of the House of Representatives of Egypt Ali abdel-Aal in Belgrade, Serbia. Photo by Parliament of Uganda 

By Moses Kyeyune

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has allayed fears by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Egypt Ali Abdel-Aal on the use of the River Nile, whose source is in Uganda.

The Speaker met Mr Ali on Wednesday, on the side-lines of the 141st Inter Parliamentary Union ongoing in Belgrade, Serbia.

She assured him that Uganda has not made any deliberations that could affect the use of the Nile waters by Egypt, noting that the water body is a major source of livelihood for both countries.

"I have discussed this issue with President Yoweri Museveni and I want to bring the reassurance of my Government that nothing will happen unless all stakeholders have a consensus," Kadaga said.

The Speaker, during the bilateral meeting with the delegation from Egypt, also highlighted the need to revive the Nile Basin Initiative to improve cordial relations among the Nile Basin Member States.

"At the IPU Assembly, we have been talking about the need for Parliamentary Diplomacy so reviving this association that was introduced about 10 years ago, should be a highlight of our parliamentary work," Kadaga said.

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Mr Ali Abdel-Aal noted that the Nile was a major contributor to the Egyptian national economy, and that the proposed construction of the Reconnaissance Dam in Ethiopia could affect them, thus the need for Uganda's support.

"Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion gallons of water according to an international treaty signed in 1929 where the population was only 20 million people,” he said, “we now have a population of 104 million people but we still get the same amount of water.”

The Speaker of Egypt also added that it would only be prudent for the Reconnaissance Dam in Ethiopia to be built over a period of 7 years to allow sufficient flow of water into Egypt.

Meanwhile, Kadaga who bought into Mr Ali’s concerns said that Uganda would remain a reliable partner.

She also commended Egypt's support to Uganda through its companies like the Arab Contractors among others, adding that Uganda had a lot to learn from Egypt in regard to construction.

"I have told Parliament severally that we need to encourage a more of these companies to come and set up base in Uganda so that we can create more employment opportunities for our people," said Kadaga.

In a related development, Ms Kadaga held a bilateral meeting with the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Başkani with whom she discussed better trade relations.

She said many Ugandans who are doing trade with Turkey suffer double taxation, and that there should be political support on closing the gap so as to increase exports from Uganda to Turkey towards what she called “mutual benefit.”

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