International Water Management Institute / SLU Global

Nile Basin: land and energy investments and changing hydropolitical landscapes

Monday 29 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: M3
New agriculture investments in Gambella - Ethiopia (Photo: Ana Cascão)

Since 2013 a SIWI-NAI-SLU-IWMI team has researched issues surrounding the water, land and energy nexus in the Nile Basin. The goal has been to understand relationships between the recent surge in land/energy investments and regional hydropolitics. Specific issues include understanding the nature and scale of both foreign and national investments in food, cash-crop, biofuel production and hydropower, and the challenges and opportunities posed by them for already-complex regional relations.

Many of the transformations taking place are rooted in national economic policies and are affected by wider global political-economies. This increasingly complex landscape involves new actors, new sources of funding and business-models, and new types of trade-offs. Mapping such complexity is central to understanding how water and sustainable growth co-relate, and the implications of these complex relations for future water governance, for economic growth opportunities and pathways. Greater knowledge will inform future policy dialogue on promoting more equitable and reasonable utilisation of transboundary resources in the context of sustainable economic growth and achievement of the SDGs. The event includes case-study presentations of ongoing and planned large-scale investments and a discussion on the implications for surrounding hydropolitical landscape. A panel debate will include representatives from riparian countries, regional institutions and development partners.


The Nile Basin: Land and energy investments and changing hydropolitical landscapes
Chair: Jeremy Bird, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

16:00 – 16:10  New land and energy investments – Challenges and hydropolitics in the Nile Basin

Terje Østigård, Nordic Africa Institute (NAI), Sweden and

Emil Sandström, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciencies (SLU), Sweden

16:10 – 16:20 Large-scale irrigation in the Lake Tana Basin, Ethiopia: challenges and opportunities
Atakilte Beyene, Nordic Africa Institute (NAI), Sweden

16:20 – 16:30  Sudan: Negotiating water and hydraulic infrastructure to expand large-scale irrigation

Ana Elisa Cascão, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Sweden

16:30 – 16:40  Egypt and the political economy of non-state actors' large-scale land/water investments in the Nile Basin

Ramy Lofty Hanna, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, UK

16:40 - 16:50  Possibilities and technical challenges of coordinated hydropower reservoir management in the Eastern Nile Basin
Kevin Wheeler, University of Oxford, UK

16:50 - 17:00  Managing shared risks through transboundary cooperative investment planning: the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) experience

Abdulkarim Seid, Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)

17:00 – 17:30  Panel discussion

  • Anders Jägerskog, Swedish Embassy, Jordan
  • Seifeldin Abdalla, Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity, Sudan
  • Teferra Beyene, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia
  • Fred Mwango, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

18:00 – 19:00 (at SIWI Booth)  Launching of the book “Land and Hydropolitics in the Nile River Basin: Challenges and new investments”

(Earthscan Routledge), edited by Emil Sandström, Anders Jägerskog and Terje Østigård