VIHIGA COUNTY, Kenya – Kenya’s Deputy President H.E. William Ruto has noted the remarkable progress made in the pursuit of cooperation on the Nile under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). “Already we can see great harmony across borders as nations
initiate and implement joint investments that will lead to enhanced livelihoods, market integration and trade, movement of labour and preservation and protection of ecosystems,” he said.
This was during celebrations to mark the 10 th Regional Nile Day celebrations held recently at Vihiga Friends High School in Kenya under the theme “Nile Cooperation: Gateway to Regional Integration.”
In a speech read for him by Judi Wakhungu, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Environment, and Natural Resources, H.E. Ruto said addressing the multiple challenges such as climate change in the Nile Basin requires concerted efforts through dialogue, negotiation, trust and confidence building to achieve the fruits of cooperation
He noted that with almost half of its water resources within the Lake Victoria Basin, Kenya considers the Nile Basin as a region of strategic importance in terms of meeting its water demands and improving livelihoods through regional integration. He called for a reflection on the vulnerability of the River Nile and its people.
Speaking at the event, the NBI Executive Director, John Rao Nyaoro, HSC said NBI has over the years promoted dialogue, negotiation, trust and confidence and entrenched these values in the organisation’s efforts to promote Nile cooperation. Nile Day is commemorated annually at regional and national levels across the 10 NBI Member States to celebrate the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) on 22 nd February, 1999. This day marked a major milestone in the history of Nile Cooperation as prior efforts such as the Hydromet of the 1960s and the TECCONILE of the 1970s, were not inclusive of all Nile Basin countries, and lacked a development agenda as well as an institutional framework. Since 2007, Nile Day is celebrated to increase awareness of the importance of Nile Cooperation and to celebrate major milestones.
The event was jointly organized with Kenya’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation in collaboration with Vihiga County Government and the Nile Basin Discourse. Activities for the day included tree planting, cleaning of Iguhu River, brass band-led procession from Vihiga County Assembly Offices to Vihiga Friends High School, an exhibition as well as cultural entertainment by school children and cultural troupes.
The celebrations were attended by Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries (Nile Council of Ministers); officials from Ministries whose activities touch on the management and development of the shared water resources, namely Water, Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Finance. Others are Members of Parliament, Development Partners, Researchers, Academia, Civil society, Youth, Media, school children and the general public.