Egypt has questioned the move to construct a new 2000MW dam in Ethiopia as announced by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in a speech to parliament last week.
In a statement, Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy said they needed Addis Ababa to shed more light concerning the dam in Ethiopia whose construction is scheduled to start soon. Moghazy however said Cairo’s request to Ethiopia is on friendly platform and not official. He said this to nullify speculations of a possible diplomatic row. Among the information requested is the location of the dam and the rivers it will feed off.
There have been negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam for the last two years. Upon completion scheduled for 2017, the Grand Renaissance Dam will be Africa’s largest hydro-electrical power plant with a total output of 6000MW.
Egypt’s main fear concerning the construction of the dam seems to originate from suspicion that the dam will feed off the Blue Nile. Egypt depends on the Nile for drinking water and agriculture. Feeding the GERD off the Blue Nile will greatly reduce the amount of water supply to Egypt.
Egypt is concerned that its historical share of the fresh water could be compromised by the GERD that is expected to hold 74 billion cubic meters of water. This will grossly affect the livelihood of the people of Egypt as well as negatively impact on her economy
Ethiopia has been working hard to mitigate the fears of Egypt and Sudan who are both beneficiaries of the Nile.
The three countries last month employed the services of two French consultancy firms, BRL and Artelia to carry out feasibility studies on the potential impact of the GERD. The results of the study are scheduled to be out by end of the by end of the year.