Salma Shitia


Decade-long negotiations between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia surround the decision to build the hydroelectric power plant along the River Nile. For much of Ethiopia, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam represents a beacon of prosperity. For countless Egyptians, the structure embodies a potential catastrophe. Grounded in threats of displacement for Egyptian agricultural communities, some have compared the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis to disasters culminating in mass migration.

This battle for natural resource access has intensified as climate change exacerbates the region’s dire conditions. Specifically, exhaustible resource allocation amid climate change indicates that regional development, competition, and associated conflict will increase. While development opportunities along the Nile may in fact facilitate expansive economic transformation for the region, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam conflict illustrates heightening conflict between two key African states, leaving potential regional success in jeopardy and military combat a growing reality. International water law remains at the conflict’s forefront as governments, scholars, and

international organizations grapple with vital legal questions. The way international water law is applied to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis will be influential and create powerful international legal precedent for global transboundary waterways. For this reason, international and regional bodies must acknowledge the foreseeable future where upstream and downstream confrontations for exhaustible resource-based development opportunities are common.