Tanzania’s Council of Ministers approved the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA, a.k.a. the Entebbe treaty) on Monday. The treaty is expected to be tabled in the parliament next month, according to a Presidential aid quoted in local media.
The CFA is the first ever multilateral treaty on Nile River providing a framework for an equitable sharing of the waters. It was signed by was signed by Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania on May 2010, and by Kenya and Burundi in early 2011. Ethiopia ratified the treaty in 2013.
Tanzania’s Cabinet adopted the treaty, in spite of the announcement made by Foreign Minister Bernard Membe, last June, that the treaty needs to be re-negotiated in favor of Egypt.
His statement was immediately contradicted by the Water Minister who indicated that the treaty will be ratified by November 2014.
The Foreign Minister, however, insisted at the time that: “I am the foreign minister…I am the one who speaks with the president on every foreign affairs matter, and the Nile Treaty is a foreign affairs matter. There will be no ratification in November, I can assure you. Tanzania’s position hasn’t changed.”
It appears the President and the Cabinet rejected the Foreign Minister’s view.
The two lower-riparian countries Egypt and Sudan have declined to sign the treaty as it doesn’t recognize the claims of exclusive “rights” on the waters, which they base on colonial-era treaties of dubious legal status. Congo has been part of the drafting process but have not signed to date.
Though Eritrea and South Sudan are Nile basin countries, they were not involved in the process. While Eritrea’s contribution to the Nile river’s runoff is very small, South Sudan attained independence in mid-2011. However, South Sudan formally stated that it won’t abide by colonial-era treaties and it intends to sign the CFA.