Transboundary Water Cooperation in Africa: The Case of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) Wondwosen Teshome B. * Abstract At present, more than 55 percent of the World’s population lives in internationally shared river basins. Shared waters could be either a source of conflict or a source of cooperation and prosperity. Today, the growing need for water resources for development has brought intense political and economic tensions among the countries that share rivers that flow across two or more countries. The aim of this paper is to identify the economic, social and political benefits of the transboundary cooperation by using the Nile Bain Initiative (NBI) as a case study. It also attempts to identify the obstacles that hinder transboundary cooperation in the Nile Basin. The paper argues that the riparian states in the Nile Basin should work for “benefit-sharing” rather than “water-sharing” and this should be the basis for their transboundary cooperation. It also claims that implementing the concept of benefit-sharing would help in solving problems that are caused by divergent interests among the riparian states in the Nile basin and the up stream-down stream problems frequently manifested in the area. The paper concludes by suggesting the main points that have to be considered in transboundary cooperation. Key Words:Africa, “benefit-sharing,” Nile Basin Initiative,transboundary cooperation, “water-sharing.” 1. Introduction In Africa, there are many river basins and some of them are transboundary. One of the transboundary river basins that extend over the territories of several countries is the Nile River basin. The Nile river is the longest river in the world and the total area of the river basin is more than 3,349,000 Km2and the basin is a home to around 160 million people (with in the boundaries of the basin). In the ten countries that share the Nile’s water, about 300 million people are living (UNESCO, 2006). The Nile Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 4, Winter 2008 34
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