President Cyril Ramaphosa has agreed to assist the Ethiopian government in solving its impasse with Egypt over the massive Nile dam project.

Egypt is blaming Ethiopia for the failure of the latest round of talks on the construction of the dam which is a critical issue for Cairo as it wants to protect its main freshwater source for its large and growing population.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is on a state visit to South Africa, called on Ramaphosa to intervene during talks at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Sunday.

President Ramaphosa will soon take over the chairmanship of the African Union.

“A solution is possible because the two countries are great countries and the Nile river is important to both countries, and there must be a way in which a solution can be found. As for ourselves, we are willing to play a role in facilitating whatever agreement that can be crafted.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was received at the Union Buildings during an official visit to the country.

“With regards to Ethiopia’s interests to create sustainable cooperation with the Nile basin countries, Ethiopia has always been and is committed to capitalisation of Nile water for all the Persians countries during your  AU chairmanship. I hope this kind of issue within Africa will be somehow managed or intervened under your leadership.”

Visa agreement 

South Africa and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to waive visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and official passports.

Ramaphosa also announced two memorandums of understanding signed by the two countries.

“That is expected to ease the travel of officials between our two nations. The memorandum of understanding on co-operation in the field of tourism will extend our partnership to a sector of great importance to both countries due to employment opportunities that are created and the foreign currency generated through tourism. We also welcome the memorandum on co-operation in the field of health which is a vital area that is of great importance to the citizens of both countries, especially the young, the old and infirm.”