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The Ethiopian Public diplomacy delegation arrived in Khartoum on Friday, May 8 to meet with public representatives and Sudanese officials and to convey the benefits of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dame (GERD) to the region.
Headed by Speaker of the House of Peoples’ Representative Abadulla Gemeda, the delegation will visit Sudan for five days.
Dr. Al-Fatih Izz Al-Deen, Speaker of the National Assembly of Sudan, welcomed the delegation at Khartoum International Airport. Dr. Al-Fatih said that the two countries relation is historical and it is boosting. “We will work together for the benefit of the people of the two countries.”
He also expressed his government’s support for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which is under construction on Abay River (Blue Nile) just few kilometers away from the Sudan border edging the Benshangul Gumuz region.
“The project will not only benefit Ethiopia’s development but for Sudan and other countries in the region,” he added.
The envoy will have discussions with several scholars and top government officials on the hydroelectric project.
Scholars from Addis Ababa University will also make presentations about the project, which will be the biggest ever hydro power plant for the continent.
The Sudanese government has given its support for the project some time after launched in early 2011. Since the commencement of the project that will generate 6,000mw electricity, Sudan and Egypt had been expressing their concern. Sudan withdrew its appeal sometime into the beginning year while Egypt reached on final consensus very recently.
About a month ago, the three countries – Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt – have signed a Declaration of Principles (DoP) which is considered as a good move about the project.
In mid April, the three riparian countries have also agreed on the selection of international consultants to undertake impact study on Ethiopia’s iconic project.
The tripartite National Technical Committee (NTC) representing the three Abay/Nile River riparian countries has selected the French BRL Ingenierie as lead consultant and the Dutch company Deltares as a sub-contractor.
A hydrology simulation model and socioeconomic impacts assessment of the project are areas the contractors will study.
Ethiopia is hopeful that it will export electricity to neighboring countries like Sudan and Egypt when the multi-billion dollar project that is finalized in 2017. It is receiving purchase requests from other East Africa countries. Ethiopia currently exports electricity to Sudan and Djibouti and some border towns in Somalia and Kenya are electrified with Ethiopian power resource. Kenya will be the next major power buyer from Ethiopia in the coming year when installation of the transmission line is completed.
The FDI Ethiopia gets from Sudan is now on the rise, followed by China who involves on various sectors in Ethiopia. Ethio- Sudanese business relation is growing rapidly in the past few years.
In 2003, the trade relation between the two countries was USD 2.9 million, but it has reached USD 300 million now.
Ethiopia imports USD 125 million from Sudan, while Ethiopia’s export to Sudan has reached USD 170 million.