Saturday November 18, 2017
The Ethiopian government says it will not require external assistance to complete its flagship hydroelectric dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.Work on the project which started in April 2011 is past the 50% mark, it is estimated that it will produce over 6,400MW of power – and will have the pride of being the largest on the continent.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on a recent visit to Qatar dispelled rumours that as part of his trip, Ethiopia planned to seek Qatari support for the project.
The government has mobilized domestic resources to fund work to the current stage. The Premier said that completing the project with local resources was a position that will not be compromised, state affiliated ENA portal reports.
With that feat, Ethiopia is in line to become East Africa’s leading power exporter and a top renewable energy hub on the continent. A combination of their power generating sources – hydroelectric, geothermal, wind and solar energies – is estimated at 60,000MW.
Ethiopia besides its political obligation and involvement in the region is a strong business force also despite being landlocked. The electric railway linking the country to Djibouti is one of the major projects it has with the Red Sea state.
Meanwhile, the ongoing dispute over the project especially its impact on water distribution of the River Nile continues. The issue affects Egypt, Ethiopia as well as Sudan. There has been calls by Egypt for all parties to meet and share results from the technical studies and to firm up commitments in that regard.
Leaders of the three countries in 2015 signed a cooperation deal over the giant hydroelectric dam which will lie on a tributary of the river Nile, at the time tensions had risen over regional water supplies.
The leaders said the “declaration of principles” would pave the way for further diplomatic cooperation on the dam, which has stirred fears of a regional resource conflict.