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Adoption of the bill ratifying the cooperation agreement for the implementation of the integrated water resources management project in Burundi between the government of the Republic of Burundi and the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt

ByWebmaster

Jan 14, 2022

BUJUMBURA January 13th (ABP) – The National Assembly of Burundi met on Wednesday January 12, 2022 at the Kigobe hemicycle, in a plenary session to analyze and adopt the bill ratifying the cooperation agreement for the implementation of the integrated water resources management project in Burundi between the government of the Republic of Burundi and the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

During the explanatory memorandum, the Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock Deo Guide Rurema, who was invited to give certain clarifications relating thereto, first recalled that in order to intensify bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation, to further strengthen their bilateral relations, to develop and expand their framework of cooperation, the government of the Republic of Burundi and the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, signed the agreement of cultural, technical and scientific cooperation, on April 16, 1973 in Cairo in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

According to the minister responsible for the environment, on March 23-26, 2021, the President of the Republic of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye paid an official visit to Cairo, in the Arab Republic of Egypt, on the sidelines of which agreements sectoral cooperation agreement and Memorandum of Understanding, including the cooperation agreement for the implementation of the integrated water resources management project in Burundi, were signed on March 24, 2021, between the government of the Republic of Burundi and the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

View of the MPs passing the bill

According to Mr. Rurema, in that agreement, Egypt undertakes to provide technical support oriented towards three axes, including the technical studies required for the construction of dams to collect rainwater on the roofs of houses (prisons, schools, churches, villages and others), a technical study for the installation and maintenance of the rainwater drainage network (channeling and retention of water that first flows to protect infrastructure, property, people in threatened sites et al.), a technical study to study the realization of a water resources management planning and development project in Burundi (carrying out a general feasibility study for the integrated water resources management plan).

He added that the project will be implemented in 2 phases including the technical studies phase during which Burundi is collecting the data to be provided to the Egyptian side as agreed, and the project implementation phase. He specified that the best option favored in such agreements is to orient them in the direction of the development of hill irrigation, irrigation in urban areas where there is space in order to increase the production throughout the year.

Regarding the technical and financial set-up document for the project, the Minister indicated that the latter will be designed by the joint technical committee (Burundian and Egyptian) set up because the project to be carried out will be the result of studies of phase 1 of the agreement, and implementation will come after validation of the studies.

According to this government representative, by ratifying this agreement, Burundi will have contributed to the implementation of the cultural, technical and scientific cooperation agreement signed between the government of the Republic of Burundi and the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, in order to serve the interests of both peoples.

He did not forget to mention that Burundi will also have contributed to the implementation of the Egyptian initiative for the development of the countries of the Nile basin (MOBADRA) for the benefit of all the member states of the initiative. of the Nile Basin (IBN) in general, and of the two Burundian and Egyptian peoples in particular, through an equitable use of all water resources in Burundi. He also added that Burundi will have finally played a key role in the achievement of sustainable socioeconomic development, within the framework of the promotion of economic development and the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

During the questions of the deputies, one asked the meaning of “equitable management of all water resources in Burundi”. The Minister replied that we must understand the benefits to be shared by the two countries in a win-win context. Burundi having the southernmost source of the Nile supplies water to Egypt. It will benefit from projects aimed at the protection and integrated management of water resources by Egypt.

The elected representatives of the people asked if in the content of this agreement one thought to be in conformity with the protocol and the conventions of the EAC of which Burundi is a signatory, explaining that the NBI is composed by the member countries and of other non-members of the EAC. The Minister replied that the content of this document is not against the will of the EAC. He explained that nothing in the EAC treaty prevents member countries from establishing bilateral relations with another member country or not. According to him, it is a kind of implementation of certain articles of the treaty and of the principles of the EAC in its already validated integrated water resources management program.

MEPs also raised concerns that the ratification of the bill may harm bilateral relations between Burundi and Ethiopia, arguing that Egypt and Ethiopia are in conflict over the Nile River.

The minister reassured by saying that the issue of the conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia is being analyzed at the level of all member countries of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), and that the ratification of the said project has no impact on the relations of friendship and cooperation between Burundi and Ethiopia.

After the analysis, out of 110 deputies who were present in the plenary session, 80 deputies or 72.7% voted in favor, no deputy voted against and 30 deputies or 27.2% abstained.