Key messages

Population is increasing; Almost all Nile Basin countries sustain significant deficits in providing basic needs;

Population has been growing in all basin countries

As of 2012, Nile Basin countries’ total population is estimated at over 480 million, which means Nile Basin countries are home to over 40 percent of the African population. Some 257 million people live within the Nile Basin boundary.

In all countries, urban population is expected to continue growing accompanied by a relative shrinking of rural population.

The population of Nile Basin countries grew by over four fold in 50 years between 1960 and 2010. As a result, the demand for food, energy and water has been escalating. Per capita water availability has been declining as the population has grown exponentially.

There is considerable unmet demand for basic needs

Almost all countries have made progress in terms of increasing the proportion of population with access to clean drinking water. However, overall, the proportion of the population with access to basic needs (health, education, sanitation, electricity) is still very low by average global standards. With the exception of Egypt, the percentage of population with access to clean water is quite low by world standards. In 8 countries, the percentage of urban population with access to sanitation is less than 50 per cent.

For rural areas, the figure is less than 30 percent. Per capita electricity consumption for all countries except Egypt is less than 200 kWh per year. This is very low compared to average world consumption.

Nile Basin countries are facing formidable challenges to provide the basic needs of their population. Cooperative management and development of the common Nile resources promises to make significant contribution toward meeting these deficits.

The GDP of nearly all Nile Basin countries has been growing steadily

The GDP of nearly all basin countries is increasing, indicating expanding economies. Countries that showed relatively high GDP growth rates are Ethiopia, with average of 7.7 percent per annum for the period 2005 – 2011, and Tanzania, with average of 5.2 per cent for the same period. Five other countries recorded average GDP growth rate of about 3.5 per cent per annum.

There is significant disparity in GDP per capita among Nile Basin countries. Egypt’s estimated per capita GDP of over 10,500 USD is more than five-fold the GDP per capita of any of the other Nile Basin countries.

Expanding economies and rapidly growing population bring about opportunities as well as challenges. With growing economies, foreign investment is growing and living standards of the population increasing. However, expanding economies also mean increasing demand for energy, water supply and food. Further, growing urbanization is contributing to increasing demand for energy, food, water and services.