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  • Author: Rawia Tawfik
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The discussion of the role of business in resource-based conflicts in Afri- ca in general and the Nile basin in particular, has been dominated by two approaches. The first approach emphasizes the role of business in exacer- bating domestic and transboundary conflicts by engaging in land and wa- ter grabs.1 In the Nile basin, large-scale land acquisitions by foreign cor- porations have often been considered as a means of exploiting land and water resources, and a factor that increases uncertainty and complexity in hydropolitical relations in the basin.2 This investigation of foreign invest- ments can be linked to a broader literature on promoting good governance of natural resources. This literature focuses on increasing transparency and accountability of all stakeholders, including non-state actors involved in the use of natural resources and ensuring the sustainable management of these resources.3 In contrast, the second approach, which focuses more on transboundary business cooperation, argues that economic cooperation, not only between state actors, but also between corporations could de-escalate conflicts over shared water resources. According to this approach, the private sector can act as ‘an agent of change’ by creating shared interests across borders and engaging in confidence-building activities.4 International organizations and funding institutions have supported multi-stakeholder forums to strength- en transnational cooperation between non-state actors and pushed for public-private partnerships to implement projects at transboundary levels.5 In the Nile basin, inter-riparian investments have been suggested as a po- tential means of reducing tensions through trading virtual water (i.e. the volume of water used in the production of commodities, goods, or services) from water-rich upstream countries, especially Ethiopia to water-scarce downstream countries, especially Egypt.6 It has been suggested that the more Egypt invests in upstream countries (and Sudan) for domestic agri- cultural production, the less likely it would resort to military means against these countries to secure access to the Nile waters to feed its own popula- tion. This assumption indicates that while inter-riparian investments may increase conflict within receiving countries, it may reduce conflicts between these countries.7 This paper contributes to this debate by examining the actual roles played by Egyptian businesses in the hydro-political and hydro-economic relations between the three Eastern Nile countries and the factors that affect these roles. It argues that the two approaches criticizing business's contribution to conflict or applauding its contribution to cooperation have not adequately captured the complexity and variety of roles played by business. It also does not adequately summarize the possible contradictory impacts of these roles on conflict and cooperation between riparian states. These approaches also downplay the impact of state-business relations and of the basin context, especially the history of hydro-political relations, on these roles. The paper will also address four main questions: what are the motivations of Egyptian businesses investing in Ethiopia and Sudan? To what extent do tensions over the utilization of the Nile waters factor into risk assessment of investments in the two countries? What roles do Egyptian public and pri- vate corporations play in promoting economic cooperation and reducing the potential of conflict, or increasing tensions between Egypt on the one hand, and Ethiopia and Sudan on the other hand? What factors affect these roles and how? And how can the business community better contribute to reduc- ing tensions over the utilization of water resources and promoting wider economic cooperation between Eastern Nile countries?
  • Topic: Privatization, Water, Business , Conflict, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt
  • Author: Amanda Coffie, Richard Alemdjrodo, Patience Adzande, Jocelyn Perry
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) esti- mates, nearly sixty-six million people had been forced to leave their homes and migrate as a result of conflict, political violence, ethnic and religious tensions, and natural disasters as of 2016.1 These rather high estimates contributed to the UN’s 2016 launch of the New York Declaration for Migrants and Refugees to enshrine global commitments to the challenges posed by high levels of forced displace- ment, and develop concrete plans for their resolution. This policy briefing note addresses the African Union and African govern- ments, as well as African scholars and policymakers regarding Africa’s particular position within global displacement and migration trends. It provides recommen- dations in the lead-up to the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) at a special summit in Morocco in December 2018.
  • Topic: Migration, Refugees, Displacement, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo