DAR ES SALAAM NOVEMBER 2018: The Prime Minister (PM) of the United Republic of Tanzania Hon. Kassim Majaliwa Majaliwa was the chief guest at the 21st Nile Equatorial Lakes Council of Ministers’ (NELCOM) Meeting held on November 22, 2018 at Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The meeting was attended by six cabinet ministers and other high level Officials representing the respective country from the Nile Basin Member Countries. Specific dignitaries present were: the NELCOM members (Ministers in-charge of the water affairs) Hon. Dr. Eng. Seleshi Bekele (Ethiopia), Hon. Sophia Pal Gai (South Sudan) Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa (Tanzania) who was the outgoing NELCOM Chair, Hon. Sam Cheptoris (Uganda) who is the new NELCOM Chair. Other Ministers in attendance were: Hon. Dr. Medard Kalemani Minister of Energy Tanzania, and Hon. Augustino Mahiga Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation (Tanzania). The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Water and Irrigation Prof. Kitila Mukumbo and the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Mr. Paul Makonda were also in attendance.

Photos Eng Elicad Nyabeeya NELSAP Regional Coordinator RC explains to the PM third Left NELSAP Work at NELSAP CU Exhibition Desk 1

Eng. Elicad Nyabeeya (NELSAP Regional Coordinator-RC) explains to the PM (third Left) NELSAP Work at NELSAP-CU Exhibition Desk

In his address, the PM urged countries that are yet to ratify the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) to do so in order to finalize the establishment of a legal permanent Nile River Basin Commission, which will speed up the optimization on how the River Nile is utilized and sustained. He recognized the 238 million people living within the Nile Basin who depend on the River waters directly for agriculture, fishing, domestic use and electricity among others. He said finalizing ratification of CFA will pave way for a stronger and binding cooperation in generating sustainable benefits for the Basin member countries.

Group Photo of Prime Minister the NELCOM members and Other Dignitaries
Group Photo of Prime Minister, the NELCOM members and Other Dignitaries

The Prime Minister further urged member countries to speed up disbursement of their required financial contributions so that the NBI centres could sustained to undertake the given mandates more effectively and efficiently. He also urged countries to accelerate decision making to reduce the current delays witnessed when implementing joint transboundary projects. As a start he urged countries to speedily implement the 10–Year NBI Strategy 2017 – 2027, which has identified key six strategic goals the basin will be addressing in the next 10 years.

The PM commended NBI Centres, NELSAP-CU in particular for efforts it has put towards identification and preparation of transformative transboundary investment projects for sustainable use of the water resources of the Nile. He noted that through NELSAP-CU, a number of development projects had been realized in water – food – energy nexus. In particular he mentioned specific examples; of the on-going construction of hydropower dams, fisheries improvement and environmental protection. Specifically in Tanzania, he cited the recently completed feasibility study by NELSAP-CU for preparation of Tanzania – Zambia power interconnection transmission line aimed at interconnecting the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and the on-going construction of the 80MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric project within the Kagera River basin, which is shared by three countries (Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania).

A Photo Showing NBI NELSAP Staff standing behind with Dignitaries seated
NBI/NELSAP Staff (standing behind) with Dignitaries (seated)

During this event, Tanzania handed over the rotational chairmanship of both the Nile Equatorial Lakes Council of Ministers (NELCOM) and the Nile Equatorial Lakes Technical Advisory Committee (NELTAC) to Uganda.
Photos to be used with this story