Dursun Yıldız, Director of Hydropolitics Academy; Türkiye should develop closer water cooperation with Africa
Hydropolitics Expert Dursun Yıldız, who made evaluations on Turkey-Africa water cooperation to Ataner YÜCE from TÜRKUAZ International News Agency (TÜHA), pointed out that Türkiye should provide more technical, administrative, and political support to Africa on water issues.
The decision regarding the approval of the "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Water between the Government of the Republic of Türkiye and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia" signed in Ankara on August 18, 2021, was also published in the Official Gazette dated 25 August 2022
In accordance with the agreement, the parties will work together to develop, manage and protect the water resources within the framework of their national legislation by exchanging knowledge, experience, and technology on the basis of equality, reciprocity, and mutual benefit.
Director of Hydropolitics Academy, Dursun Yıldız made a statement on the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of water
Turkey should give more intensive support to Africa on technical, administrative, and political issues regarding water.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and Ethiopia on cooperation in the field of water is a very important development in terms of both Türkiye’s innovative foreign policy over water and Africa's need for this cooperation.
In the signed document, it is stated that "the parties cooperate by sharing knowledge, experience, and technology based on mutual benefit for the development, management, and protection of water resources of the two countries".
Especially in sub-Saharan African countries, water resources cannot be developed and managed well due to economic inadequacies. Various civil society organizations, associations, and government institutions in Turkey support individual projects on the supply of drinking water in these countries. However, it will be a much more effective and beneficial initiative if this cooperation is carried out on the scale of intergovernmental cooperation as well, as it was done with Ethiopia.
Compared to both neighboring countries and developing African countries, Turkey is a country that has the knowledge and experience to lead in the water development, management, water policies, and water diplomacy of water resources. However, it has not been able to highlight this feature sufficiently in its international relations until today. The agreement with Ethiopia is a step forward in this regard. Definitely more to come. Turkey develops these relations through public institutions and organizations. But on the other hand, it should also focus on efforts in international public diplomacy studies making civil society and universities more effective in this field.
Water cooperation with Ethiopia is important
Ethiopia is an upstream country on a transboundary Nile river and is about to complete the Great Renaissance Dam on the Nile. There has been tension between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt on this issue for a long time. Türkiye is also an upstream country for some transboundary rivers and water cooperation between Turkey and Ethiopia becomes important in this respect as well.
Türkiye should have more water cooperation initiatives in its African Partnership Policy
The African Initiative Policy of Türkiye, which was successfully completed, has been replaced by the Africa Partnership Policy as of 2013.
The number of embassies in the continent has increased to 43. Türkiye is also a country that opened the largest number of embassies in the African continent in the 21st century. Turkey has the distinction of being one of the most represented countries in the African continent from a diplomatic point of view. Through this developing diplomatic mission, Türkiye should increase its water cooperation moves with African countries.
China has gained an important position in African countries, especially with its financial support for dam constructions. Besides financial support Countries in Africa also need support from water education areas to water management practices. Therefore Türkiye should continue its initiative in different water cooperation fields.
In particular, transboundary water cooperation efforts in riparian countries through international public diplomacy are effective and important. Türkiye's broader water cooperation with African Countries will also contribute greatly to this issue.
[ UHA News Agency, 14 September 2022]