Analysis – Why Ethiopia and Egypt Aren’t Fighting a Water War [analysis]

There were times last year, when the rhetoric in Cairo reached fever pitch, that some kind of conflict between Ethiopia and Egypt over the waters of the Nile seemed inevitable. It hasn’t come to that, and nor will it, if history is anything to go by.

It was nearly 20 years ago that Ismail Serageldin raised the alarm bell. “The wars of the next century will be fought over water,” he said, at a time when oil dominated geopolitical strategy. Serageldin is one of Egypt’s most prominent public intellectuals – he was a vice-president at the World Bank at the time, and he’s now director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria – and his warning caused a stir. Could the world really run out of water?

In his part of the world, the danger is obvious. North Africa is dry and arid, and water is scarce at the best of times. Climate change – already happening rapidly, according to the UN’s latest report – will exacerbate this scarcity, as will a growing population.

If nations will fight over land and resources, and of course they do, then how much more will they fight over access to the…

Source : Daily Maverick