The concerned group of Ethiopian professionals and activists has made significant strides since its inception. It has empowered itself considerably after the announcement of the one-sided and pro-Egypt statement by the U.S Department of Treasury as well as the World Bank on the filling, monitoring, management and use of the Nile; and the implementation modalities of the GERD. The unprecedented statement of the Treasury Department and the acquiescence of the World Bank undermines Ethiopia’s sovereignty severely; and diminishes its capacity to modernize. This unacceptable condition enraged all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia; and emboldened them to act.
The unfair, unjust and lopsided position of the U.S. Treasury and the World Bank on the implementation and management of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has mobilized the Ethiopian public; and energized concerned Ethiopian professionals, activists and Ethiopia’s friends.
Ethiopians with diverse skills, professions and backgrounds are in the process of pulling their expertise together in defense and support of Ethiopia’s sovereign and legitimate rights to harness water resources within its own territories for the betterment of its growing population. Thousands of Ethiopians including members of Ethiopians for Abbay (the Nile) signed petitions with the sole intent of drawing the attention of the global community of the unfairness of the Agreement on the GERD that favors Egypt and puts undue pressure on Ethiopia.
A protest letter signed by 148 concerned Ethiopians was hand delivered to the President of the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Executive Directors of the Board, the U.S. Executive Director and through her office, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, World Bank Corporate Vice Presidents, the Chairperson of the World Bank Inspection Panel as well as Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Fitsum Arega.
We are pleased to record that the Inspection Panel responded and met with us electronically. In this session attended by four members of the Panel on the Bank’s side; and Dr. Aklilu Habte, Dr. Semu Moges and Dr. Aklog Birara on our side, our team underscored the need for the World Bank to play a bridging rather than a political role. The team emphasized the reputational and moral risks the World Bank faces not only in Ethiopia but also throughout Black Africa. The team recognized the valuable contributions of the World Bank in its capacity sponsoring, financing and serving as a hub for the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), an initiative that we believe should be resurrected and supported by the World Bank and U.N. specialized agencies.
Ethiopians for Abbay (the Nile) have played a constructive role in defending Ethiopia’s legitimate rights to complete the GERD on time; and, further, to utilize its water resources. In the light of this commitment, the group believes that our impact will be far greater if we focus on the larger and common goal of serving Ethiopia and its diverse population through a robust and collaborate approach rather than individually and in silos.
Egypt has succeeded in establishing its hegemony over the Nile, largely because it is able to dominate the narrative. From children in kindergarten to top Egyptian leaders, Egyptians speak with one voice. Regardless of the facts on the ground, their collective narrative is that Egypt is entitled to its colonial and exclusionary “natural and historical rights” over the Nile.
Accordingly, we feel that it is about time for Ethiopians and other Black Africans who share Nile waters to change this false and outdated narrative.