Jan 14, 2020

Ethiopia and Egypt aim to resolve dam dispute in Washington

The dam, as of 2017. Photo: Gioia Forster/picture alliance via Getty Images

Officials from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan convened in Washington today ahead of the Jan. 15 deadline they set to reach a deal on what will be Africa’s largest hydropower dam.

Driving the news: Ethiopia, which began construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2011, considers it both a major economic opportunity and a matter of national pride. It plans to start filling the dam within months.

  • Egypt considers the dam an existential threat, as the country is facing water scarcity already and is almost entirely dependent on the Nile. It wants the dam filled much more slowly.
  • All sides have said they want a deal this week. However, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's request yesterday that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa mediate the dispute seemed to indicate much remained to be settled.

What to watch: “If the dispute is not resolved by Jan. 15 the nations will have several options ... from using an international mediator to involving the heads of states,” per Reuters.

Go deeper

Africa can choose both U.S. and China, Kenya’s leader says in D.C. visit

President Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during their first meeting in 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Washington, ahead of a visit today with President Trump, with a message: the U.S. and China should not see Africa as a battlefield to be conquered, AP reports.

What they're saying: Kenyatta stated on Wednesday that world powers are "behaving like Africa is for the taking. We don't want to be forced to choose...We must begin to look at Africa as the world's biggest opportunity, and I believe that you can dare to look at it with a fresh eye."

Go deeperArrowFeb 6, 2020 - World

Netanyahu holds landmark meeting with Sudan leader

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met today in Uganda with the leader of Sudan's governing council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and discussed the possibility of normalizing relations, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Why it matters: Today's meeting follows years of hostility from Sudan toward Israel and signals a diplomatic opening under the joint civilian-military government that replaced longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir last year.

Go deeperArrowFeb 3, 2020 - World

Why Trump's Middle East peace plan already matters

Trump and Netanyahu announce the peace plan at the White House Tuesday. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump is nowhere near a deal on Middle East peace, but his long-awaited plan has immediate and dramatic implications for the reality on the ground.

Driving the news: The White House gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light to immediately annex about 30% of the West Bank, a step every previous U.S. administration vehemently opposed. Netanyahu plans to act on that opportunity as soon as Sunday.

Go deeperArrowJan 29, 2020