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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Egypt, Ethiopia agree to further cooperation, to sign a number of agreements today

Egypt and Ethiopia are expected to ink a number of “bilateral legal instruments” today at a meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ad Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Cairo, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said yesterday, according to an official statement. The two leaders are expected to meet one-on-one before they inaugurate an Egyptian-Ethiopian Joint Commission session. The spat over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is expected to feature strongly in the talks, possibly with a view to ending a stalemate reached late last year after Ethiopia and Sudan — a member of the GERD tripartite committee — failed to ratify the results of environmental impact studies proving the dam would severely cut into Egypt’s Nile water supply. The World Bank is considering an Egyptian proposal to help mediate talks between the three countries.

GERD came up in a meeting between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Ethiopian counterpartWorkneh Gebeyehu yesterday. While details have yet to emerge, “Egypt said it was committed to an earlier agreement to share the Nile with Ethiopia and Sudan during the filling of a reservoir behind the new dam.” Gebeyehu also noted that “partnership between Ethiopia and Egypt is longstanding, which is beyond the Nile River that the two countries share.”

What else should you expect? The two sides are talking cooperation in industries ranging from agriculture to manufacturing, and Egypt is apparently looking to build a a USD 120 mn industrial zone in Ethiopia and deepen cooperation on customs. The foreign minister is also nudging Ethiopia to ratify a 2014 trade agreement. The two sides also agreed yesterday to set up a joint investment council.

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