Tuesday May 30, 2023

Ethiopia ‘completes’ third filling of Nile mega-dam

August 13, 2022

ADDIS ABABA:Ethiopia announced Friday it has completed the third filling of its mega-dam on the Blue Nile, a new milestone that could raise further tensions with downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan.

The development comes a day after Ethiopia said it had launched electricity production from the second turbine at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in the northwest of the country. "Today as you see behind me, the third filling is complete," Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said from the dam site in images broadcast on state television."The Nile is a gift of God given to us for Ethiopians to make use of it."

The massive $4.2 billion dam, set to be the largest hydro-electric scheme in Africa, has been at the centre of a regional dispute ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the project in 2011. There is still no agreement between Ethiopia and its downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan about the GERD´s operations despite talks held under the auspices of the African Union.

Cairo and Khartoum view it as a threat because of their dependence on Nile waters. But Ethiopia deems it essential for the electrification and development of Africa´s second most populous nation.

It was one of Africa´s fastest growing economies in recent years until war broke out in northern Ethiopia in November 2020 between federal government forces and Tigrayan rebels. There was no immediate reaction from Egypt or Sudan about Friday´s development.

Abiy nevertheless sought to reassure Egypt and Sudan over the impact of dam. "When we set out to build a dam on the Nile, we said from the beginning that we did not want to make the river our own," he said on Twitter.