The Nile Basin Trust Fund

January 14, 2016

In 1999, nine Nile Basin countries initiated a partnership called the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). Ministers of water affairs from Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with Eritrea as an observer, established the NBI as a transitional mechanism as a platform for dialogue and joint work, to better understand and use the common Nile Basin resources, and to harness benefits for equitable and sustainable regional economic development. South Sudan joined the partnership as a nascent country in 2012. 

In recognition of this historic step taken by the ministers, in 2001, 10 development partners came together to establish the Nile Basin Trust Fund (NBTF) to support pursuit of this shared vision in a coordinated manner. Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the World Bank contributed $203 million to the fund, with many additional donors providing coordinated support to the Nile countries in parallel. The NBTF was administered by the World Bank. 

In the decade and a half that followed, Nile countries, in partnership with the NBI, went a long way in pursuing cooperative water resources management and development. From a state of limited dialogue and collaboration on water resources, the countries have transitioned into an environment with active information sharing, strong regional institutions, and joint prioritization, planning, and implementation of investments. The early success of the cooperation process initially facilitated by NBTF support, and its tremendous future potential, is evidenced by the $6 billion in regionally significant development projects currently being advanced by the Nile countries through NBI processes, with $1.5 billion of the portfolio already under implementation.

 The Nile Story: 15 Years of Nile Cooperation Making an Impact, captures and shares the cooperation journey of the Nile countries and results emerging from support from the NBTF, which closed in 2015. Accompanying briefs provide summaries of results in the areas of:  highlights of cooperation; energy; climate resilience; development benefits; dialogue and cooperation; knowledge; flood forecasting; ecology; and benefits for women.

The successes and lessons that emerged from the NBTF experience led development partners to establish the Cooperation for International Waters in Africa (CIWA) Trust Fund, which provides support for transboundary water activities in the Nile and across Africa.