National Positions on Lake Malawi/Lake Nyasa: How far back will countries go?

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.

Bitter Eternal Kangaroo

Oil search fuels Lake Malawi tension

David Livingstone's Map of Lake Malawi, Africa
David Livingstone’s Map of Lake Malawi, Africa by National Library of Scotland
License (according to Flickr): No known copyright restrictions

Excerpt:

“In a country the size of Malawi– it is not a large country, it does not have a large GDP– the income that could be generated for Malawi financially would be very, very significant,” he adds. “We think it could be a serious game changer for this country.”. But some fear that if oil is discovered, it might end up more of a curse than a true blessing. See also : Can Kenya stay clear of resource curse? Lake Malawi offers a source of income for regional fishermen. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site, vital for researching the advancement of fish, according to UNESCO. Worldwide oil production, 2011. Click to expand. Worldwide oil production, 2011. Click to expand.

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One response to “National Positions on Lake Malawi/Lake Nyasa: How far back will countries go?

  1. Pingback: 20 days until former SADC leaders are expected to announce decision on Malawi-Tanzania Lake Dispute | Mining in Malawi·

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