Ethiopia launches fundraising to complete Nile Dam

The Government of Ethiopia on Wednesday launched another round of fundraising to complete the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which has the capacity to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity.

In her address at the fund raising launching ceremony, president of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde indicated that the water of the Nile should not be cause of conflict but should be used as tool of cooperation and development by Nile riparian countries.

When completed the about $5 billion investment Dam will be the biggest in Africa. So far all the money invested on the Dam, which is about 100 billion birr (close to $3.13 billion), is generated from domestic source mainly government and by offering shares to millions of Ethiopians.

The Government of Ethiopia recently announced that it will start filling the Dam, in the coming July with the aim of starting test energy production with two of the 14 turbines by April 2021.

Since the launching of the construction of GERD by Ethiopian Government in 2011, Egypt, which is one of the Nile riparian countries, has been expressing its concern claiming that GERD will reduce the volume of water it used to receive from the Blue Nile.

Though many negotiations especially among the three main Nile riparian countries has been made over the past several years, no agreement on the filling period and related operations of GERD has not been reached.

Over the past few months the United States Government through its treasury Department and the World Bank have been engaged in mediating the negotiations between the three countries. Meanwhile, the proposal reportedly drafted by the U.S. Treasury was refused to be signed by Ethiopian Government, which claimed that it needs more time to consult with the public before inking the deal quickly signed by Egypt.

Following the statement by the U.S. treasury telling Ethiopia not to fill water GERD before final deal is signed among the three countries, Ethiopians including in the diaspora have been expressing their anger over what they called ‘the United States’ pressure on Ethiopia and stand that favors Egypt’.

On Tuesday, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Ethiopia Gedu Andargachew, described the statement of the United States Treasury ‘undiplomatic’. The Minister indicated that Ethiopia don’t need anyone’s permission to fill GERD or develop its natural resources.

Commenting on the future scenario, Minister Gedu said that Ethiopia will continue the negotiation until fair and equitable water use of the Nile water is reached with the Nile riparian countries, while the construction of GERD progresses.