“The year 2019 marks two decades since the inception of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). It is a year that we celebrate twenty years of cooperation and collaboration among the Nile Riparian countries and the deepening of knowledge, education and public awareness about and for the sustainable utilization of the Nile River and its Basin resources. To paraphrase Herodotus, the Nile River is the gift of Almighty God to the countries and peoples of the Nile Basin. For millennia the Nile has been the lifeline and has sustained life of the people of the Basin, a manifestation of the old adage: Water is Life. The Nile, in all its mystic, has over centuries, been the concourse of religious beliefs in different conceptions and perceptions, be they traditional or Abrahamic.
Cooperation and collaboration has to be steeped in knowledge. The NBI building upon its predecessor initiatives, the Hydromet Project and the Technical Cooperation Committee for the Nile Basin (TECCONILE) has done a commendable job in preparing the Basin for a strong and resilient Nile Basin Commission. After all, NBI is meant to be a transitional arrangement towards permanent cooperation. At the technical level much has been accomplished in the last two decades, thanks to Basin States and to our cooperating partners through the Nile Basin Trust Fund, and other funding mechanisms. I am privileged to have worked with a first class team of Nile Basin officials and to have participated in the process of the construction of Nile Cooperation, first as a Permanent Secretary responsible for water (1990-1993) and as Minister responsible for Water (2008- 2013).
Political will is what is required to move cooperation to a higher level. I believe the will is somewhere there and the way can be found. And as the Late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere succinctly put it: It can be done. Play your part”.