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Egyptians invest $50m in Ethiopia amid escalating tensions

Posted by Ethio Tribune on June 17, 2013

By Farah Atia

Three Egyptian projects worth $50m will be launched in Ethiopia’s first industrial zone over the next month in an attempt to strengthen Egyptian-Ethiopian ties, according to the head of the Badr Investors Association.

Alaa Alsokti highlighted the “role the economy plays in strengthening relations between the two countries,” and urged the government to give Egyptian businessmen and companies the opportunity to play a political role in calming growing tension with Ethiopia.

The plants, owned by Egyptian investors and companies, specialise in electrical transformers, office furniture and medical equipment.

Rising population, pollution and environmental degradation have caused increasing water scarcity for Egypt. The country is facing an annual water deficit of around 7bn cubic metres, with the United Nations already warning that Egypt could run out of water by 2025. Alsokti stressed that many Ethiopians are keen that the dam not worsen Egypt’s water situation.

“There has been a significant boost in ties between us and the Nile-based countries in the past two years,” President Mohamed Morsi told the Conference on Egypt’s Rights to Nile Water this month, adding that there has been a 50% increase in trade, with Egyptian investments in Ethiopia now amounting to $2bn.

According to a statement by the Ethiopian government: “The Nile basin has been tying the two countries and their peoples together for millennia.” It noted that while the river could represent a source of cooperation for the two countries, this has not always been the case, calling the issue of Nile water a “sticking point in the relationship, a major stumbling block to any sort of robust bilateral link that might have enhanced the interests of both countries.”

According to the statement, successive Egyptian governments have sought to ensure their continued control of the Nile water, and because of this, it has not been possible to establish a strategy for the river based on mutual agreement, adding that upper riparian countries, including Ethiopia, for a long time suffered from a lack of sufficient resources to develop their legitimate claims to usage of the Nile water…click here to read more

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