Ethiopian Waters Advisory Council

Statement on Decision of the US Government to Halt Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan

የኢትዮጵያ ኃ ጉዳዮች ምክር ቤት

Ethiopian Waters Advisory Council (EWAC)

August 30, 2020


Statement on Decision of the US Government to Halt Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan


It is with profound dismay that we learned of the decision of the US Government to halt some foreign assistance to Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)


The Ethiopian Water Advisory Council (EWAC) is a non-political and non-partisan cluster of Ethiopian Americans and friends of Ethiopia that brings together scientists, academics, researchers, educators, practitioners, specialists in hydrology, atmospheric and climate sciences, engineering, information systems, and development to help Ethiopia free itself from abject poverty, famine, ill health, and darkness by promoting cooperation and the equitable and sustainable use of water resources, most notably the Nile waters.


Ethiopia contributes about 86 percent of the waters of the Nile; but has not benefitted from this massive natural resource for centuries. The decision to halt aid to Ethiopia punishes the poor. By all human development indices, Ethiopia ranks far behind Egypt. Halting aid to one of the poorest and least developed nations on the planet over building a dam in its territories by pennies collected from the poor is both immoral and unjust. This decision also undermines long-established and vibrant relations between the United States and Ethiopia; has the potential to embolden extremist and jihadist forces; and diminishes Ethiopia’s capacity to protect its own, as well as the United States’ national security interests in the Horn of Africa.


Today, Egypt enjoys 100 percent access to electricity while 60 percent of Ethiopians, or 70 million people, live in darkness; 84 percent of Ethiopians suffer from multidimensional poverty with an annual water consumption currently less than one eighth of that of Egypt. We, therefore, call upon the Government of the USA to support the rights of Ethiopia to use its Nile waters based on the UN water convention; and encourage Egypt to drop its hegemonic stance and come to comprehensive basin wide cooperation based on equitable and sustainable use of the Nile waters.


Further, we call upon the Government of the United States to release all the halted humanitarian assistance and urge it to continue promoting democracy, rule of law and respect of human rights in Ethiopia.


We also call upon:

1.      The Ethiopian Government to redouble its efforts and bring the dam to full operation and to ensure optimal power generation capacity to enable recouping its investment in GERD, which has been mobilized from all Ethiopians (most of them living below the poverty line), in a reasonable period.


2.      Egypt to immediately cease its hostilities and counterproductive global campaign against Ethiopia based on misinformation; and instead to be respectful of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; take full cognizance of Ethiopia’s generosity and indefatigable effort to accommodate the legitimate concerns of riparian nations; resort to science and evidence-based solutions in addressing challenges; and use established African institutions to resolve any misunderstandings and conflicts that may arise.


3.      All member states of the African Union and affiliated organizations to support Ethiopia in bringing GERD to fruition and free the continent from the last vestiges of hegemonism and colonialism. The GERD is a joint African project, a key component of the Integrated African Power Pool, designed to achieve 100 percent African electrification set by the African Union’s Agenda 2063.


4.      The international community, including the UN Security Council, the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League, the US Congress, foundations, major non-governmental organizations, the global media and others to be fully cognizant of Ethiopia’s legitimate and sovereign rights over its water resources, where over 40 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives under endemic water scarcity (general and absolute), contribute to the completion of GERD and the rehabilitation and development of the Blue Nile watershed.


5.      The Government of Ethiopia to seek damages from Egypt for lost lives and economic opportunities, shattered families and hopes, habitat destruction resulting from Egypt’s blockage of foreign assistance to upstream development projects to maintain its water hegemony based on a 1959 Egypt-Sudan Nile Treaty that Ethiopia totally rejected.  


6.      Ethiopian Americans to communicate with their respective representatives in the US Congress and executive branches and other institutions to provide full information on GERD and support the Ethiopian Government in making GERD fully operational.



7.      The Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC to use all possible communication channels and leverage the united voice of Ethiopian-Americans to influence the US Government to unfreeze development assistance held by the Administration and restore the historically strong, cordial, and mutually respectful diplomatic, economic and cultural relations between Ethiopia and the United States of America.


Ethiopian Waters Advisory Council – EWAC 


Contact: Kone Feseha, PR