Counter Hydro Hegemony Mechanisms and Their Roles in the Eastern Nile Basin

Gashaw Ayferam Endaylalu


This study examined ways of challenging hydro hegemony and their roles in the Eastern Nile Basin. In doing so, the study has employed a qualitative research approach and Framework of Counter Hydro Hegemony which gives due emphasis to power and hegemony in transboundary water analysis which is downplayed by the conventional analysis of the conflict-cooperation continuum. The study has used both primary and secondary sources of data in which primary data were gathered through key informant interviews. In this case, Face-to-face interviews were conducted with individuals from academic institutions, Stockholm international water institute, Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Energy and Irrigation, Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO), and Electronic (e-mail) interviews were also conducted with international water experts. Secondary data also gathered form books, journal articles, archival sources, agreements, agreed minutes, speeches, reports, and other pertinent internet sources. Given the data are gathered qualitative, the study has employed qualitative data analysis is techniques in which a combination of discourse and document analysis has been used. The findings of the study show that in the contemporary hydropolitics of the Eastern Nile basin, Egypt’s hydro hegemony is being challenged via two ways: war of position through CFA and war of movement through GERD. Both of them have played crucial roles not only in challenging but also in foreshadowing the end of the inequitable transboundary water management. With regard to CFA, it has envisioned a new order. In the meantime, however, CFA has no legal value because the ratification is not yet reached the minimum required number.  Rather CFA has a counter hydro hegemonic role. CFA has the role of breaking of hegemonic consent and transformative. Along to this, CFA has a role in creating counter hydro hegemonic narrative: downgrading the narrative of historical and acquired rights via narrative of equitable and reasonable utilization, securitization via desecuritization, win-lose via win-win, and you can live without Nile via we need Nile for development. With regard to GERD, it has a coercive counter hydro hegemonic role. Along this the roles of GERD includes ways of exercising rights, coercive role, counter sanctioned discourse and offering of alternative discourse, showing the imperative of cooperation, and creation of benefit sharing regime. Thus, the counter hydro hegemonic strategies in the contemporary hydropolitics of the Eastern Nile basin foreshadow an emergent new equitable regime. Nevertheless, the anticipated new regime has not been realized. Rather it has faced challenges because of the proactive and reactive hydro hegemonic tactics being employed by Egypt.

Keywords: Counter Hydro Hegemony, Eastern Nile Basin, Ethiopia, Egypt, CFA, GERD

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/69-02

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