Egypt will continue providing financial and technical support to Uganda to control aquatic weeds and enhance fish production on Uganda’s lakes despite current conflict on the use of the Nile, according to an official.
President Yoweri Museveni recently told Parliament that Egypt’s claim over the waters of the River Nile was not realistic. He particularly referred to Ethiopia’s plan to build a power dam on the Nile; a project that Egypt is protesting arguing that it would affect the flow of the Nile. The Nile water is crucial to the countries surrounding it that use it to support their livelihoods.
Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi was quoted saying that his country would not tolerate losing “one drop” of Nile water, a resource that Egypt solely relies on. The development prompted concerns that relations between the countries could soar. However, an official at the Egypt-Uganda Aquatic Weed Control project told our reporter that fresh procurement process for the third phase is underway after Egypt provided more funding for the project a few months ago.
The multi-million dollar Egypt-Uganda Aquatic Weed Control project began in 1999 after the government of Uganda sought assistance to control the growth of aquatic weeds that had blocked the outlets of both Lakes Kyoga and Albert causing flooding around the shores.
The resultant partnership has seen Egypt providing over 15 million dollars in funding to construct agricultural water dams, develop fishermen landing sites, construct infrastructure for 4 aquaculture parks, water valley tank and carry out routine aquatic weed removal operation from Lakes Victoria, Kyoga, Albert and at the mouth of River Kagera.
With the countries presently divided over the agreements concerning the use of River Nile waters, there was fear the stance could interfere with the partnership. But Omar Wadda, a Senior Agricultural Engineer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, who also coordinates the Egypt-Uganda Aquatic Weed Control, says that they are not aware about any intentions by Egypt to cease funding the project.
It wasn’t however possible to seek comments from the Egyptian authorities over the matter. Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture together with Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources implement the Egypt-Uganda Aquatic Weed Control project.