Besides being the second largest hydrographic basin in Africa, the Nile Basin is effectively the most notable drainage basin on the continent. It covers approximately 2,870,000 km2, or about 10% of African territory, crossing arid regions and with a high population density. The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) has been in existence since 1999, with the aim of strengthening cooperation in sharing its resources concerned.
The drainage area of the basin covers Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Basin is the main supplier of fresh water, electricity, and fish for the local residents of these countries, supporting about 270 million inhabitants, or 20% of the African population. The basin rises in the highlands and flows in extremely arid regions, in particular the Sahara Desert.
Its main navigable course is through the Nile River, being the mouth section in the Mediterranean Sea (more precisely after the Nile Delta) until it surrounds the city of Aswan, in southern Egypt. There are also navigable courses at the Aswan Dam. In the middle Nile, after the dam, due to the presence of waterfalls north of Khartoum (Sudan), the river is navigable in just three stretches. The first is from the Egyptian border to the southern tip of Lake Nasser. The second is the section between the third and fourth cataracts. The third and most important stretch extends from Khartoum, in the south, to Juba (South Sudan).
The main water supplier for the basin is Lake Victoria, located in the Great Rift Valley. About 238 million people live within the Nile Delta area, 172 million of those inhabit rural localities.