The signing of the Nile BasinCo-operative Framework agreement by five Nile Basin countries — Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda is a sign that African countries are becoming bold enough to undo colonially inherited systems that are not working for them. The agreement seeks to transform the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) into a permanent Nile River Commission to manage the water resources on behalf of all Nile basin states.
In a similar trend, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola are facing a hard time persuading Zambia to sign and ratify the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) Protocol. Imitating Egypt and Sudan, since 2004, Zambia has refused to sign and ratify the Protocol on the basis that 75% of the Zambezi River basin is in Zambia, and it also contributes 42% of ZambeziRiver water.
The unfolding situation at the Nile and Zambezi rivers is a great test to African unity. Concerned countries ought to exercise reason and sobriety. Aggrieved countries should not seek the intervention of non-African countries as this will give external actors leeway to meddle into African affairs. We are all children of Africa: Let water unite us!
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