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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: Iris Tintswalo Nxumalo
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: The ongoing civil war in South Sudan was triggered by factionalism within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), reflecting deep divisions and structural challenges within the South Sudanese elite and the state. Despite regional and international efforts at peacemaking and the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) in August 2015, there remain episodes of conflict. This brief calls for a renewed political process that seeks to address the multiple levels of conflict, true reconciliation, and cooperation through recognition of mutual interests among emerging South Sudanese elites, and between them and the people through greater inclusivity in national dialogues and governance structures.
  • Topic: Civil War, Regional Cooperation, Political structure, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Charles Ukeje, Kizito Sabala
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: This policy briefing note examines the implications of the altercation between the United Nations (UN) and Kenya following the dismissal of the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Lieutenant General Johnson Ondieki, a Kenyan citizen. An Independent Special Investigation established by the UN blamed poor leadership and judgment for the attacks on Terrain camp—a UN facility in Juba, the capital of South Sudan—in July 2016, which led to several deaths. Although the UN promptly requested that Kenya appoint a replacement, the country considered the dismissal of its citizen unnecessarily punitive and refused.
  • Topic: United Nations, Leadership, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan