The Nile Basin covers an area of about 3.2 million km2, which represents some 10 percent of the African continent and hosts nearly 20 percent of the African population. The basin extends from 4° south to 31° north latitude.
The Nile is the longest river in the world with a length of 6,695 km. It has two main tributaries: 1) the White Nile, originating from the Equatorial Plateau of East Africa, the head streams of which flows into Lake Victoria, and 2) the Blue Nile, with its source in the Ethiopian highlands. Other significant tributaries are the Tekeze-Atbara and the Baro-Akobbo-Sobat, both originating in the Ethiopian highlands. Lake Victoria with the surface area of 66,700 square kilometres is the world’s second largest freshwater lake after Lake Superior in North America.
Eleven countries share the river: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, the Sudan, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. The Nile Basin is home to approximately 257 million people, while some 487 million live within the eleven riparian states.
The Nile waters play a vital role in the socio-economic development of the Nile Basin States. Agriculture is the dominant economic sector in most Nile riparians.
The Nile also has huge potential for hydro-power production.