Nile Basin Initiative gets new Executive Director
Professor Seifeldin Hamad Abdalla is the new Executive Director of the NBI Secretariat, effective April 8, 2019. Prof. Seif, as he is fondly referred to by friends, succeeds Eng. Innocent Ntabana, from Rwanda, who completed his two-year contract recently.
Prof. Seif is a towering figure in international water affairs beyond the Nile Basin. His distinguished service has earned him a number of awards including the prestigious 2016 UNESCO-IHE from the Netherlands-based Delft Institute for Water.
Prof. Seif brings to the Entebbe-based regional water body decades of vast experience and proven record of success as an engineer, a manager, researcher and politician.
A Sudanese national, Prof. Seif was most recently the Chairman of the Water Resources Technical Organ in The Sudan, a position he held since July 2012. He was responsible for trans-boundary water issues of Sudan including the Nile and its tributaries, among other things.
Prior to that, he served as the Minister of Water Resources from December 2011 to July 2012. This is in addition to serving in various other capacities since 1979 when he attained his B. Sc. (Hons.) in Civil Engineering from the University of Khartoum.
Prof. Seif is credited for making major contributions to initiating and preparing agreements that have enhanced cooperation among the Nile (and IGAD) countries, preventing conflicts and/or reducing tension and hence improving the future economic and political collaboration between millions of people in the region.
Among his outstanding contributions is his work in preparing the; “The Declaration of Principles on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)” between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, that was signed by the respective Heads of State in Khartoum on March 23, 2015.
Before that, Prof. Seif was instrumental in preparing the “November 5, 2012, Addis Agreement” signed between the same three countries, which led to the unfreezing of Sudan activities and resumption of full participation in the Nile Basin Initiative.
Prof. Seif is also remembered for his work on the “IGAD Water Resources Policy of 2015” that was signed by the eight countries of IGAD, which paved the way for future cooperation and enhanced peace and security in the IGAD region; as well as the “The Transboundary Arab Water Agreement”, among other initiatives.
Prof. Seif joins the NBI Secretariat during ‘The Year of the Nile Basin’, whose motto is: ‘Putting Water at the Heart of Regional Transformation’.
A number of experts believe that Prof. Seif’s many years of experience in the water sector will contribute to achieving the objectives of declaring 2019 – The Year of the Nile Basin by the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM).
A man of many hats, Prof. Seifeldin, who attained his doctorate degree in Irrigation Engineering from Utah State University, USA in 1997, has also taught and supervised many BSc, MSC, and PhD programmes at the University of Khartoum, University of Sudan and University of Gezira.
He is a very active member in the NGO arena: Chair of the Sudan “International Hydrological Program (IHP)”, and “Global Water Partnership (GWP)”, member of the Board of the Sudan Engineers Union, Sudan Engineering Council and Chair of the Arab Water Committee.
He has also received a number of Honour Awards, notable among them: Decoration Honour and Medal of El-Nilain (First Order), received in recognition of the great noble service and achievements for the country, by the President of the Republic in 2017; Distinguished Alumni Award of 2016 from UNESCO-IHE Delft in recognition of outstanding and significant achievements in water development; Medal and Certificate for Honour and Excellence in Education (1996) provided by Utah State University and the Honour Society Phi Kappa Phi, USA.