Discussion Papers

No.878 Reconceptualizing Hydrohegemony: The Dynamics of Sudan-Egypt Relations Over the Nile Hydropolitics

by Mohamed Omer ABDIN & Housam DARWISHEH

March 2023


This paper investigates the impact of changes in domestic power structures and regional and international transformations on hydropolitical configurations of the Eastern Nile Basin. The paper follows a multi-disciplinary approach – drawing on the framework of hydrohegemony (FHH) and politics of regime survival. It argues that although the FHH provides a useful analytical tool for understanding Egypt’s relations with Sudan and other upstream states in the Nile basin, it does not sufficiently question the impact of regime security and leadership survival on the formation of hydropolitical interaction between states. This missing dimension may be of particular relevance in authoritarian contexts, where the most pressing threats to the ruling elites typically emerge from internal political challenges such as mass uprisings, rebellions, and military coups. Hence, without dismissing the importance of the FHH, the paper elucidates the impact of long-term dimensions of regime survival strategies on the transboundary hydropolitical interaction between Egypt and Sudan.

Keywords: Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Arab Gulf, the Nile River, Hydro politics

JEL classification: F59, N55

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