Ethiopia says working to boost electricity export

By Andualem Sisay Gessesse – Ethiopia is working to increase electricity power export to its neighboring countries including Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya and Tanzania, a government official said.

“…They [the Sudanese government officials] told us that their demand currently is around 350 megawatts.  Now we are supplying them nearly 100 megawatts though there is up and down.  We are trying to expand more export of electricity not only for Sudan but also for other countries such as Djibouti, Kenya and Tanzania,” Motuma Mekasa, Minister of Ethiopian Water and Irrigation, said.

The minister made the remark this morning speaking to reporters after the opening of the Ethiopia- Sudan Technical Advisory Committee. Though the committee was established in the 1990s, it has been reactivated bilateral platform since 2013 engaging officials of the two nations mainly on cross border issues such as water and electric, among others.

“Our areas of cooperation mainly include, data exchange on the flow of the Nile Water, electrification, research and Development and experience sharing…We believe our trans-boundary rivers are our common resources and require meaningful cooperation for sharing responsibilities as well as benefits between our countries, ” Minister Motuma said, inviting the Sudanese delegate to visit the status of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) being built on the Nile River a few dozens of kilometers away from the Sudan border.

This is for the second time the committee has met in 2016, according to Minister Motuma.

Responding to the question why Egypt is not part of the meeting as they discuss issues related to GERD and the Nile, Ambassador Mutaz Musa Abdalla Salim, Sudanese Minister of Water Resources and Electricity said that Sudan  has similar bilateral platforms with Egypt and it is different from the trilateral talks of the three countries on the Nile,

“Sudan has the same bilateral meetings with Egypt, which cause no harm to Ethiopia. We also have this bilateral meeting with Ethiopia, which causes no harm to Egypt,” the Sudanese minister said.

The study on the impact of Ethiopia’s 6,000 megawatts GERD the three countries have selected an international company to do the assessment. The company is expecting to commence the study after securing advance payment before the end of this month, according to the Sudanese Minister of Water Resources and Electricity.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have signed a trilateral declaration of principles in March 2015. The agreement aims to guarantee that all parties will take steps to ensure GERD would not harm the interests of any of the parties concerned. Following the agreement they selected the French engineering consultancy Artelia and BRL groups to conduct the impact of Ethiopia’s $4.7 billion studies. The UK-based law firm Corbett & Co was also selected to manage the legal affairs of the tripartite committee.

It is expected that the consulting firms will go to businesses in the coming few days by securing the advance payment from the three countries to look into the impact of the already 54% construction completed GERD.