Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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SHIMELLIS Hailu, Wollo University, Ethiopia

The central objective of this paper is to explore the myths and realities behind the securitization and de-securitization speech of Egyptian and Ethiopian government leaders concerning the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). To this end, the researcher uses the amalgamation of Bari Buza’s securitization, Mark Zeitoun’s and Jeroen Warner’s Trans-boundary water conflict analysis, and energy security frameworks. The researcher employs a qualitative research approach. Accordingly, data were collected from secondary sources like books, journal articles, legal and policy documents, unpublished materials, websites, and media outlets. Based on the data analyzed, the study shows that the securitization claim of Egypt under the pretext of ‘Nile is the life of Egypt’ and the 1929 and 1959 Nile agreement as the only international legal instrument is a myth to deceive others in 21st century. However, the data show that Egypt may use old strategies like proxy war and domestic political grievance using updated tactics to destabilize Ethiopia. On the other hand, Ethiopia’s attempt at regional cooperation among upper riparian states as a lasting solution is an unrealistic ambition in the short term. However, the existing reality is that GERD can bring energy integration in Nile riparian countries in the long term. Therefore, the study suggests that Ethiopia should first solve domestic political grievances and create internal political solidarity. In the same manner, Ethiopia is expected to reduce its external vulnerability to overcome proxy war, which may come from neighbor states. Finally, in the end, Ethiopia should establish upper stream cooperation to reverse the Nile Hydro-hegemony and bring riparian wide energy integration.