Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries have called for scaling up of preparation and implementation of investment projects in the Nile Equatorial Lakes sub region so as to increase socio-economic benefits for the riparian states and communities as well as further enhance Nile cooperation. The Ministers also commended progress made on the 80 MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric project whose construction is scheduled to start by January 2017 and to be completed by February 2020.

This was during the 19th annual Nile Equatorial Lakes Council of Ministers (NELCOM) meeting held in Nairobi Kenya on 19th October, 2016.

The Ministers also agreed to mainstream investment projects prepared by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit NELSAP-CU within their national development plans for implementation so as to contribute to energy, water and food security for the communities in the Nile Basin.

The 2016/17 work-plan of NELSAP-CU was approved with a budget of USD 12.5 million (Twelve million, five hundred thousand United States Dollars).

Member States reiterated their commitment to continue supporting their institution NELSAP-CU through both cash and in kind contributions and those with outstanding arears pledged to clear them within the shortest time possible. This is in recognition of the importance of sustainable Nile cooperation, in order to avoid consequences of non-cooperation such as environmental degradation, negative effects of climate change, limited coordinated monitoring of the resource base, and opportunities for joint action foregone.

The 19th annual NELCOM meeting witnessed a change in the top leadership of NELSAP, with the position of chairman of the Nile Equatorial Lakes Council of Ministers moving from Burundi to Sudan. Accordingly, the current chairman isHon. Amb. Mutaz Musa Abdalla Salim, Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity, Sudan. He succeeds Hon. Emmanuel Niyonkuru, Burundi’s Minister of Water, Environment, Land Management and Urban Planning.

The change in leadership is in keeping with the NBI tradition of rotating the position of chairman of the NELCOM among the Member States on an annual basis.

The meeting was attended by Ministers in charge of Water Affairs from Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. DR Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania sent representatives while Egypt did not participate.