Sisi Bashir Desalegn
African leaders reach agreement over Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam projectReuters

The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have reached a deal to end a protracted dispute over the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the river Nile. The deal was signed in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on 23 March 2015 where the African leaders appeared delighted with the result, despite having expressed reservations during the long-running negotiations.

Egypt had opposed Ethiopian plans to construct Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam amid concerns that it will impede water flow. Ethiopia pressed ahead with the project, which is already a quarter complete, saying that it is needed to give the country a fairer share of the Nile's water.

The 2013 move to divert the Blue Nile river was met with surprise by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who said he would not allow Egypt's energy supply to be endangered. However, Morsi was deposed that summer, as Egypt lurched from one political crisis to another.

Egypt's current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the dam would still cause a great deal of anxiety in Egypt, which lies downstream from Ethiopia.

"The Renaissance Dam project represents a source of development for the millions of Ethiopia's citizens through producing green and sustainable energy, but for their brothers living on the banks of that very Nile in Egypt, and who approximately equal them in numbers, it represents a source of concern and worry. This is because the Nile is their only source of water, in fact their source of life," al-Sisi said in Khartoum.

Ethiopia has said the completed project would provide 6,000 megawatts of power and has sought to reassure Egypt that water would follow its natural course after the diversion on the Blue Nile.