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ICFRC: Nile River Dispute: An International Law Perspective

Listen to an audio podcast of this program.

The Nile is the longest river in the world. It is shared by 11 countries. For thousands of years, the river watered Egypt, the lowest riparian state in the Nile basin and one of the oldest civilizations in the world, without much competition from the upper riparian states. However, in the twentieth century things started changing. The upper riparian states started making plans to utilize the waters of the Nile River which once flowed to Egypt in its entirety. Presently, the biggest challenge for Egypt's claim to the Nile waters is coming from the largest hydro-electric dam on the African continent being built by Ethiopia, the upper riparian state providing more than three-quarters of the waters flowing into the Nile River. Egypt claims the Nile waters belong to it as a matter of historic right. Ethiopia argues the waters flowing from it to Egypt belong to Ethiopia as a matter of national sovereignty. The presentation discusses this dispute from the perspective of international law. Specifically, it addresses the issues by discussing the various treaties signed by the Nile basin states. The presentation also discusses international law principles relevant to the dispute.

Daniel Teshome Teklu is a second-year Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) student in International and Comparative Law at the University of Iowa College of Law. He is currently writing a dissertation on the Nile water dispute. Daniel is from Ethiopia. He came to the US as a high school junior. In 2012, he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.S. in Engineering and worked as an engineer for a few companies, including Messier Bugatti and Ford Motor Company, before turning to the study of law. In 2019, he graduated from Wayne State University Law School (Detroit) with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. In 2021, he graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University School of Law (Indianapolis) with a Master of Laws (L.L.M.) degree in International and Comparative Law. He wrote his master's thesis on the Nile water dispute.

For more information about the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, visit icfrc.org.

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