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After being invited by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE), Hossam El- Eldin Mohamed Moghazy, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation for Egypt will visit the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of MoWIE, who met with his counterpart during the fourth tripartite negotiation held in Khartoum a few weeks ago, invited the Egyptian minister to visit the project.
Hossam’s visit will take place based on the invitation, but the information Capital obtained from MoWIE stated that the exact date of the Egyptian Minister’s visit has not been set.
Since the beginning of the hydro electric project on the Abay/Nile River, which is the main water source for the North African state, the Egyptian government has been concerned about a potential decrease of water flow. Ethiopia has frequently countered that the dam will not significantly affect the downstream countries.
An International Panel of Experts (IPoE) carried out a study and made recommendations after Ethiopia expressed its willingness to participate.
Based on the latest dialogue held in Khartoum, Sudan the two downstream countries (Sudan and Egypt) and Ethiopia, have agreed to undertake additional studies based on IPoE recommendations.
Since the newly elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power the relationship between the two countries has improved significantly. The fourth negotiation that was held after a nine month break is considered to be a positive sign.
A week ago the Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry visited Ethiopia and met with his counterpart Dr Tedros Adhanom and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
According to the Egyptian government’s statement, El-Moghazy will lead a delegation of Egyptian experts to Addis Ababa to talk about the GERD project.
In New York this week the heads of both nations Ethiopia and Egypt are expected to meet at the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.
During the Khartoum dialogue held from August 25 to 26 the three countries agreed to established and commence an additional assessment on the project within six months starting from September 1.
The tripartite meeting was halted for several months when Egypt walked out from the negotiations.
GERD is being constructed on the Abay River in southeastern part of Ethiopia close to the Sudan border. Recently, the government announced that the 40 percent of the project that is being financed with local funds has been completed. The power plant will have a capacity to generate 6,000mw of electric power when it is fully commissioned in 2017.
The water flow from Abay/ Blue Nile contributes 86 percent of the Nile water that flows to the Mediterranean Sea via Egypt.
Ethiopia has a policy that development on the river has to be conducted in a win-win manner. Ethiopia, The second most populated country in the continent plans to generate up to 10,000 mw of electric power from different renewable energy sources in this Growth and Transformation Plan.
Currently the total electric production in the country is about a little over 2,000 mw. According to different studies the country has a potential of producing 45,000 mw of electric power from hydro sources. Over half of the above stated potential is based on the Abay Basin, but the actual development from the stated basin is very low.
The Ethiopian government has strong interest in expanding electric production not only for local consumption but to increase revenue by exporting to neighboring countries.
Currently, Ethiopia is exporting electric to Djibouti, Sudan and to border towns of Somaliland, which is a self declared country. Ethiopia and Kenya are also undertaking a transmission line work to export a significant amount of energy to Kenya by 2016.