Strategic Analyses of the Hydropolitical Conflicts Surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

  • Yasir M. Aljefri
  • Liping FangEmail author
  • Keith W. Hipel
  • Kaveh Madani


Hydropolitical conflicts between the Eastern Nile countries over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) are systematically analyzed at three points in time: just before the announcement of construction by Ethiopia on April 11, 2011, before the negotiations in early January 2014, and late August 2014. Hypergame theory, as developed within the framework of the Graph Model for Conflict Resolution for handling misperceptions, is used to gain strategic insights into these conflicts and to ascertain the possible resolutions of the disputes. In all of three conflicts, the key decision makers are Egypt and Sudan, the downstream countries, and Ethiopia, the upstream nation. The findings from the analyses demonstrate the significant utilization of strategic surprise, a decisive act in which a decision maker intentionally exercises a course of action in the dispute that is hidden to its opponents in order to attempt to reach a more desirable outcome for itself. In particular, both Egypt and Sudan were caught by surprise when Ethiopia publicly announced on April 11, 2011 that it was going to build GERD, since no prior notification was given. Because Ethiopia was aware of Egypt and Sudan’s misperception this dispute is modeled as a second level hypergame. The conflict investigations also show that the geopolitical and economic changes in Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia allowed Ethiopia to construct the dam without any harsh confrontation with Egypt and Sudan.


Conflict resolution Graph model Hypergames Misperceptions Nile River The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of JeddahDhahbanSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Systems Design EngineeringUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  4. 4.Centre for International Governance InnovationWaterlooCanada
  5. 5.Balsillie School of International AffairsWaterlooCanada
  6. 6.Centre for Environmental PolicyImperial College LondonLondonUK
  7. 7.Council on Middle Eastern Studies, The MacMillan Center for International and Area StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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