Natural Resources, A Curse or a Blessings? The Egyptian-Ethiopian Nile River Dispute

During a recent visit to Egypt, I found that the debate over the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was intense. Ethiopia’s hydroelectric power plant on the historic Nile River threatens the water availability for populations downstream in Sudan and Egypt. As I listened to the Pope of the Coptic Church, Tawadros II, delivering his Easter Eve message, his comments on the Egyptian-Ethiopian Nile River dispute caught my attention when he called on Ethiopia to be more cooperative and to work with Egypt as its partner in the River Nile. He also warned against fruitless wars and conflicts, inviting people to pray for leaders of both countries and for all good diplomatic and political efforts to succeed. I then began to wonder how and why natural recourses become a curse, particularly in Africa, rather than the blessing we read about in the biblical narrative of creation (Genesis 1-2). And what is the role of the church in such conflict over natural resources?

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