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Changing power relations in the Nile river basin: Unilateralism vs. cooperation?

Ana Elisa Cascão
Department of Geography, King'€™s College of London, United Kingdom; ana.cascao@kcl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to identify where and how power relations in the Nile river basin have changed over the past decade, and to analyse how these dynamics have influenced not only the political relations between upstream and downstream riparians but also the management and allocation of the shared Nile water resources. The article sheds light on the ongoing political and economic changes in the upstream countries (as well as in Sudan) and on how these dynamics might affect and challenge both the regional balance of power and the ongoing regional cooperation process. A critical analysis of the relationship between power shifts and the evolution of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) will be provided. Finally, the article questions how unilateralist and multilateralist hydropolitical trends have co-existed in the Nile basin, and identifies possible future scenarios.

KEYWORDS: Nile river basin, power relations, change, unilateralism, cooperation, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia