Tag Archives: Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Egypt and Ethiopia hold talks to ease tensions over Nile dam

VoA/allAfrica

By Marthe van der Wolf, 18 June 2013 

Photo:                   Giustino

                  Blue Nile Falls (file photo).

ADDIS ABABA — Egypt and Ethiopia are taking steps to defuse tension over Ethiopia’s diversion of the Nile River to construct a massive hydroelectric dam.

The ministers of foreign affairs from both countries held talks in Addis Ababa on Monday and Tuesday. At issue: the tensions that rose after Ethiopia began diverting part of the Blue Nile to advance construction the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom told reporters in Addis Ababa Tuesday that both nations have agreed to implement recommendations made by an international panel of experts and to hold further talks.

“Both ministers, in a spirit of brotherly relations and mutual understanding, agreed to embark on consultations at the technical and political levels,” Adhanom said, “with the participation of the Republic of Sudan, to implement in a speedy manner the International Panel of Experts’ recommendations.”

The diplomatic language is a far cry from the heated exchanges over the $5 billion dam, which Egypt fears will threaten its vital water supply.

Most Nile river water originates in Ethiopia. However, colonial-era treaties written by Britain gave Egypt as much 87 percent of the Nile’s flow.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has gone so far as to warn this month that “all options” were open in terms of his country’s response to the dam project.

The high-level talks come after Ethiopia last week became the sixth country to back replacing colonial-era treaties with a new commission to oversee Nile projects. Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have already signed the agreement. Egypt is among several nations that have yet to do so.

Despite the calmer language, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr says his country need not apologize for some of its politicians who suggested the right course of action may be to sabotage the construction of the dam.

“It’s not a matter of regrets or apologies,” he said. “Some pronouncements were made in the heat of the moment, or because of their emotions. No regrets were required.”

Minister Tedros is expected to travel to Cairo soon to continue talks over the dam’s possible impact.

Ethiopian officials argue Egypt can make up any reduction with better water management.

The construction of the dam started two years ago and is about 20 percent done. When completed in 2017, it will transform Ethiopia into Africa’s biggest producer of electricity.  allAfrica

Ethiopia diverts Blue Nile as part of hydroelectric dam project

BBC

A boat on the Nile in the south of Egypt Egypt and Sudan are concerned that the dam will affect vital water supplies

Ethiopia has started diverting a stretch of the Blue Nile to make way for a $4.7bn (£3.1bn) hydroelectric dam that has caused a dispute with countries downstream, state media say.

The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is currently under construction, is part of a $12bn (£8bn) investment project to boost power exports.

The Blue Nile is one of two major tributaries of the Nile – one of the world’s longest rivers.

Egypt and Sudan object to the dam.

They say it violates a colonial-era agreement, which gives them rights to 90% of the Nile’s water.

‘Fair use’

The Grand Renaissance Dam, which is being built in the Benishangul-Gumuz region bordering Sudan, will eventually have a 6,000 megawatt capacity, according to the Ethiopian government. This is the equivalent of at least six nuclear power plants.

The dam’s construction… does not cause any harm on any country” Alemayehu Tegenu Ethiopia Energy Minister

“The dam is being built in the middle of the river so you can’t carry out construction work while the river flowed,” Mihret Debebe, chief executive officer of the state-run Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, told the Reuters news agency.

“This now enables us to carry out civil engineering work without difficulties. The aim is to divert the river by a few metres and then allow it to flow on its natural course.”

Ethiopia claims to be the source of about 85% of the total water in the Nile.

The Blue Nile originates in the country’s Lake Tana and flows hundreds of miles north into Sudan and then Egypt before eventually flowing into the Mediterranean.

Egypt is particularly dependant on the water supply, with growing populations placing it under increasing strain, although Sudan also relies on the source.

Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs, Ali Hifni, said that the diversion of the river was not something to worry about, according to the Egyptian state-run news agency Mena.

But Mr Hifni said that the dam itself was of concern.

Experts from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are set to announce findings of a study into the impact of the Ethiopian dam on the Nile’s flow in the coming weeks.

Ethiopia’s energy minister, moved to dispel fears over the dam’s impact, Reuters reports.

“The dam’s construction benefits riparian countries, showcases fair and equitable use of the river’s flow and does not cause any harm on any country,” Alemayehu Tegenu said.