Name? Abiy Ahmed
Westphalian identity? Ethiopian
Why is he in the news? Prime Minister Ahmed has rejected the Arab League’s resolution of calling on the UN Security Council to intervene in the regional dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Why do we care? We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: oil wars are out and water wars are in. Case in point, Ahmed’s counterparts in Cairo and Khartoum have previously called on the US, the EU and the UN to mediate the dispute which is currently being monitored by the African Union (AU).
Why should you care? The Nile River is central to millions of livelihoods in Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, and therefore, any change in its flow (such as a dam) will severely affect all who need the river. So on our how much you should care scale, it’s a 7/10.
Who else cares? President Sisi and Prime Minister Hamdok not only have the West on their side for a peaceful mediation but now also the Arab League as it exerts influence over the MENA region. Having a united Arab position of support for Egypt and Sudan in the dispute inherently puts more pressure on Ahmed to do what’s best for the region, not just his country or own self-interest.
Any further comments? Much of this difficulty in accepting a solution for any side stems from the disagreements as to who should be the one to propose a resolution. As far as Ahmed is concerned, the GERD is an African problem to be solved through African solutions as according to his government, Ethiopia is simply exercising its right to use its water resources. Opposingly, Sisi (Egypt) and Hamdok (Sudan) find that the AU mediation has yet to deliver desirable results and thus, they have sought out other blocs such as the Arab League; who have since defined the issue as an integral part of Arab security.