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The Ethiopian government announced that Egypt, who is suffering from a power shortage, will be the beneficiary of the electric power produced from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The project is now being constructed on the river Tikur Abay and will provide power for the local and export market. It is expected to begin partially producing power in the coming year and will generate 6,000mw of electric when it is fully completed.
Early this week at a forum held at Bahir Dar University government officials stressed that the dam is not being constructed for irrigation or farming, but for power generation.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement, Ambassador Berhane, State minister for Foreign Affairs, said on Tuesday that the benefits of the GERD would extend to Egypt’s ability to obtain electricity from Ethiopia.
In different occasions the Ethiopian government has strongly stated that the project includes only power generation. But the Egypt’s politicians have been using the issue for the political vacuum that occurred in their country.
“The water will pass through turbines to conduct electricity, and then continue its flow,” the State Minister said, adding that Egypt would not be harmed by the dam: “on the contrary, [Egyptians] can get electricity from Ethiopia after the dam’s construction is complete.”
GERD is constructed with local finance and has already consumed over 27 billion birr since it was launched 37 months ago, while almost one third of the work has completed.
MoFA’s statement stated that Egypt has been suffering from electricity shortages which have resulted in increasingly recurrent power cuts nationwide, even in winter months. The Egyptian government announced early this month that it planned to boost the country’s supply of electricity by importing natural gas and diesel and would be beginning construction of three new power plants.
Currently the other downstream country, Sudan has understood the benefit of the project and has given strong support for Ethiopia. Even though the project is supported by the countries likes Sudan, Egypt has tried to convince the second most populated country to cut the construction, while Ethiopia has strongly rejected the idea.
The Ethiopian government clarified that the project will never stop for a second until its accomplishment. To help alleviate Egypt’s concerns, Ethiopia decided to form an international panel of experts to evaluate the feasibility of the project.
On Wednesday officials and diplomats of the ministry also met with local media members to discuss about the project that is carried out at the Benshangul Gumuz region. They officials clarified that that project will not have any effect on the water flow to Egypt. They claimed that the country is believes in win-win development with other countries.
Egypt is trying to magnify that the project will harm the country and they claim that the water flow will significantly decline because of the project. They are also trying to internationalize the issue. While officials at the ministry office said that the Ethiopian government will not have a time fight with fallacy campaign that Egypt opened against Ethiopia.
Recently Ethiopian PM, Hailemariam Desalegn stated that there is no one shall stop the project. The Ethiopian government strongly stated that the project does not have any effect on other countries.
Ethiopia’s contribution for Abay/ Nile River, which flows to Mediterranean Sea via Sudan and Egypt with 6800km length, is 86 percent, but it does not implement any development on the river basin or its tributaries.