Victoria-Mediterranean project integrates, links Nile Basin countries: Egypt's irrigation minister

Ahram Online , Wednesday 12 Jan 2022

Egypt's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati on Wednesday stressed the importance of the Victoria-Mediterranean naval linkage project in achieving regional integration and linking the Nile Basin countries.

Abdel-Ati and Bazaiba
Egypt s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati in his meeting with Congolese Vice Prime Minister Eve Bazaiba on Wednesday in Sharm El-Sheikh , Egypt (Photo : Egyptian irrigation Ministry)

Abdel-Ati’s remarks came during his meeting with Congolese Vice Prime Minister Eve Bazaiba on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum (WYF) in Sharm El-Sheikh, where they also discussed ways to boost cooperation.

The naval route linking Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean through the Nile River will also increase tourism and commercial exchange between the countries, a statement by the ministry quoted Abdel-Ati as saying, stressing that river transport between countries is one of the best means of transferring goods of all kinds.

Concerning its role in the regional integration of Nile Basin countries, the minister noted that the naval project would include a navigation route, a road, a railway, an electric connection and an information cable to achieve the comprehensive development of the Nile Basin’s countries.

The Egyptian minister also said that the project has other benefits like decreasing energy use and increasing safety, in addition of providing job opportunities and increasing the inland countries' connection with seas and international ports.

Launched in 2013, the naval linkage project is one of the regional projects sponsored by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s (NEPAD) Presidential Infrastructure Development Initiative.

Egypt is leading this project under the patronage of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi with the participation of all Nile Basin countries, including Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

Abdel-Ati hinted at the renewal of the Egypt-Congo protocol for technical cooperation over water sources, extending it for another five years from 2022 to 2027, according to the statement.

The Integrated Water Resources Management project is being implemented under the protocol’s umbrella, which includes Egyptian funded development with the aim of maximising water resources, and building and developing technical cadres to manage these resources.

From her side, DR Congo’s vice prime minister expressed her country's desire to continue the process of cooperation with Egypt in the field of water, noting existing projects like the Rain and Climate Changes Forecast Centre in the Congolese capital Kinshasa.

In July 2021, Abdel-Ati co-inaugurated the centre in Kinshasa during his official visit to the DR Congo.

The centre was built with Egyptian grant and specialises in studying climate changes in the country to help protect the Congolese citizens from sudden climatic disasters, a statement at the time said.

The Congolese staffers at the centre have been trained by experts from the Egyptian irrigation ministry in dealing with rain and flood forecasts, aerial imagery systems, geographic information systems (GIS), hydrologic modelling, and writing specialised technical reports.

This, according to the previous statement by the ministry, came within the framework of Egypt's interest in transferring its expertise in the field of integrated management of water resources to its brothers from the Nile Basin countries in order to maximise the use of these resources.

Abdel-Ati has previously stressed that cooperation with Nile Basin countries and African countries is one of the main pillars of Egypt’s foreign policy.

The value of Egypt's total exports to Nile Basin countries during the first nine months of 2021 was $1.1 billion, compared to only $835 million in 2020, with a 33.7 percent increase, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

The value of Egypt's total imports from the Nile Basin countries was $497 million in the same covered timeframe of 2021, compared to only $442 million last year, the CAPMAS said in a report.

The CAPMAS further noted that Egypt’s exports to African Union (AU) countries in general witnessed a 37.8 percentage hike during the same period.

The total value of Egyptian exports to the AU hit $3.9 billion during the first nine months of 2021, compared to only $2.8 billion during the same period last year, the official statistics agency said.

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