It is the longest river in the world, and one that has given life to generations of Africans for millennia.

But the Nile has come under increasing pressure in recent years, as growing populations have come to depend on the resource.

For Egypt, the water supply underpins its very existence; for Ethiopia, it is providing a new opportunity for economic development, while Sudan sees both needs and opportunities.

All three have now come together to sign a deal to co-operate over a giant hydro-electric dam being built in Ethiopia, and the sharing of Nile waters. 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said: "I want to assure the people of Egypt and the people of Sudan that this construction will cause no significant harm to the people of the three countries and specifically to that of Egypt."

Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, responded: "You will develop and grow and I am with you, but beware that in Egypt the people live only on the water that comes from this river."

So, can the competing partners balance the need to share the Nile’s waters with the demands for economic development?

Presenter: Dareen Abughaida

Guests:

Marwa Maziad - Middle East Researcher at the University of Washington, and a specialist on Egyptian politics.

Mwangi Kimenyi - Senior Fellow at the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institute.

Therese Sjomander Magnusson - Director, Transboundary Water Management, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)

Source: Al Jazeera