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The mighty dam. Photo: Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty

Ethiopia is planning to begin to fill the 72 billion liter reservoir of the massive Grand Renaissance Dam within weeks. Egypt vows that Ethiopia will come to regret it if it follows through.

The big picture: The dam dispute has rumbled on since Ethiopia announced the staggeringly ambitious project, which will double its electrical output but disrupt the flow of the Nile to Egypt and Sudan, nine years ago.

  • One crucial issue is the rate at which Ethiopia will fill the reservoir. Egypt says that process must happen over 12 years. Ethiopia wants to do it in half that time.
  • The latest round of talks broke down last week. Ethiopia's rainy season begins in July, and it plans to begin to fill the reservoir then even without a deal.
  • Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire confidante of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, tweeted last week: “We will never allow any country to starve us, if Ethiopia doesn’t come to reason, we the Egyptian people will be the first to call for war."

Why it matters: "For Egypt, the Nile is synonymous with life itself. ... For millennia, it has enjoyed an almost entirely uninterrupted supply of Nile water, " write Samuel Getachew and Simon Allison in The Continent. "[S]oon, Ethiopia will have the power to turn Egypt’s taps on and off."

  • Egypt is trying to rally international resistance, including at the UN Security Council. Ethiopia is determined to forge ahead.

The bottom line: Doing so could change the distribution of power — electrical and political — in the region.

Go deeper

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ina Fried, author of Login
10 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.

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