Last week, Malawi submitted its position on the disputed Lake Malawi (known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania). Tanzania is yet to submit its position, although it was due last month on the 31 January 2013, to the Africa Forum of former African Heads of State and Government. This Forum is mediating the dispute under the leadership of Mozambique’s former president, Joaquim Chissano.
How far back will the countries go to justify their claims of ownership rights to Lake Malawi? Malawi may be banking on the colonial Heligoland Agreement, 1890, made between Britain and Germany, that was recognised by the African Union. However, Tanzania may hope that the decision of the lake’s boundaries will be determined by current international law that draws boundaries in the middle of a body of water.