On the occasion of Nile Day 2019, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) clocks 20 years of its existence. This is a major milestone and as such offers an opportunity for both reflection on the successes and challenges of the last 20 years of Nile cooperation as well as consolidation of Member States’ commitment to the Basin cooperation agenda, as laid out in NBI’s 10-Year Strategy (2017 – 2027).

View of Kigali Parliament building and convention centre seen from the East

The theme for the event is NBI@20: Stronger Together

Twenty Years of NBI brings a time for joint reflection: Celebrating what has been achieved since the founders of the NBI came together to form a multilateral intergovernmental institution on 22 February 1999 –the mutual trust that has been built, the personal and institutional connections established and Member States have since been working together, developing technical tools and identifying investment opportunities. But it also means examining what were the challenges and what remains to be done, which plans were not fully achieved, how can we improve, which concerns have not been sufficiently addressed. Every Nile citizen has their own story to tell, many perspectives to take into account, many voices to listen to.

At the heart of this reflection exercise lays the founding principle of the NBI – transboundary water management is better done together. Similarly, – the Member States of the Nile Basin Initiative, and the people supporting it – do recognise that they are connected by the River Nile and that the challenges they face, from population growth and much needed development initiatives, to the expected impacts of climate change, are best addressed jointly, which is also the most optimal way of harnessing the opportunities offered by the River. And that in doing so, the Nile Basin community, will emerge stronger and better equipped to face the ongoing and future regional challenges, and that past efforts have already put us on the right path.

It is with the above understanding that this year’s celebrations of 20 Years of NBI is held under the conviction that the Nile Basin community has always been and will continue to be Stronger Together.

Participants march through Dar-es- Salaam as part of activities to mark NBI’s 10th anniversary in 2009
Date: February 22, 2019 & Venue: Kigali Serena Hotel, Rwanda.
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