Alyssa Marie Miller



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The Nile River is one of the longest rivers in the world that flows through 11 countries. The Blue Nile River is a tributary to the Nile River, which starts from the highland of Ethiopia and contributes around 85% of water flow to the Nile that flows upstream into the Mediterranean Sea. With the aims to solve the water problem and enhance their development, the Ethiopian government started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile River in 2011. Since this river is a tributary to the Nile River, many spectators questioned how Ethiopia has the jurisdiction to build a dam over a river that is transnational. There have been various legislation agreements established, but very few have had significant impact to lessen the tension. Most notably, to solidify each country’s adequate supply, the UN adopted the Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses in 1997, which attempted to set standards around the usage and conservation of watercourses. Though this convention can help resolve the geopolitical tension over the GERD’s construction on the Nile River, it does not solve the question of Ethiopia’s right to build a dam that could impact other countries water supply. Therefore, in 1999, the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) grants each country that the Nile River flows through, the right to adequately use the Nile's water supply. However, Egypt is one of the countries that originally did not sign the CFA. The Nile is Egypt’s primary source for freshwater. Egypt’s main concern is since their population continues to grow, their freshwater supply will deplete. Though it may be perceived to negatively impact Egypt, the GERD seems to benefit countries, especially Ethiopia and Sudan, in terms of economic development. Hence, I am to explore how the GERD will benefit and restrict Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt’s commercial growth. I will also explore journal articles and media sources to further analyze the complex geopolitical situation in northeastern Africa.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Zelalem K. Bedaso

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: A Window of Opportunity or a Door for Exclusion?