Introduction: The Nile Development Game

  • Mina Michel Samaan


Although 71% of the earth surface is covered by water, only 0.01% of total water volume on our blue planet is freshwater running in lakes and rivers (Ojakangas 1997: 67). About 60% of this global surface water is shared between two or more countries (UN-Water 2008: 3), creating 276 transboundary lakes and river basins, which host around one-third of the world’s population, cover almost one-half of the world’s land surface, and cross the borders of 148 countries (Giordano et al. 2014: 245, 246). Because freshwater is the source of life and the essential element that fuels vital sectors in the economy of every nation, these figures can justify the growing concerns associated with various scientific fields studying issues related to transboundary river basins, amongst which are the disciplines of international relations (IR), water governance, and spatial planning. In this respect, it is widely argued that large-scale developmental schemes in transboundary watersheds may provoke conflict or promote cooperation amongst different riparian states sharing international watercourses, often affecting basin communities and ecosystems, especially in those regions of water scarcity including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (Fig. 1.1). At the heart of these debates lies the Nile Basin hydropolitics.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Mina Michel Samaan
    • 1
  1. 1.Braunschweig University of TechnologyBraunschweigGermany

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