Discussion Papers

No.921 Geopolitics of Transboundary Water Relations in the Eastern Nile Basin

by Housam Darwisheh

February 2024


This paper discusses the geopolitical dimension of changing hydropolitical relations in the Eastern Nile Basin, which scholars have neglected despite the growing number of studies devoted to transboundary water relations in the Nile Basin. The paper examines the influence of external actors on hydropolitical relations between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt and explores their impacts, particularly those of the Arab Gulf states and private investments, on a longstanding trilateral standoff in hydropolitics between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. While the findings do not offer a single and simple conclusion about transboundary water interactions, they highlight the importance of paying attention to the roles of external actors in influencing how riparian states engage in water activities and development projects that can cause adverse impacts in a transboundary context.

Keywords: Nile, hydropolitics, GERD, GCC, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia
JEL classification: P00, F50, F59

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