Completion of Africa’s Grand Dam Would be Great News for Continent: Negotiating Team Member

Addis Ababa: The completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should be big news for the continent, especially for the east African countries, GERD Negotiating Team Member Gideon Asfaw said. The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Africa's largest power plant, has reached 95 percent, and is expected to be fully completed within 7 months. In an exclusive interview with ENA, Gideon said the execution of the dam through the knowledge and resource of Ethiopians is indeed gratifying. The launching of the dam about which a lot has been written had influence on nations, he noted. In this respect, the completion of the dam should be "great news" for Africa, especially for neighboring countries, the negotiator believes. According to him, the dam plays a leading role in strengthening regional ties as the benefits of the GERD are not limited to Ethiopia. It will rather bring a number of benefits, including prevention of flooding and evaporation as well as provision of regional power in terconnection. Gideon further stated that Ethiopia should continue working on similar projects to support its economic growth and its journey to get out of poverty by using natural resources. As a nation that has strong commitment to resolving issues through dialogue, Ethiopia has made great efforts to resolve the unresolved issues around the dam in negotiations. "Ethiopia pursued and still pursues the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of the Abbay River, and the dam does not inflict any significant harm on downstream countries. The country's firm stand is adhering to the principle of mutual benefit and resolving issues through dialogue," he stressed. However, it was not possible to end the negotiations between the three countries because the proposals presented by Egypt were retroactive and did not lead to an agreement. The dam, which contributes greatly to the common development of the region, currently holds 42 billion cubic meters of water and generates power with two turbines. Upon going fully operational, GERD will have installed capacity of generating 5,150 MW which will be the largest hydropower project in Africa with the amount of electricity it generates. It will also store 74 billion cubic meters of water that benefits Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. Source: Ethiopian News Agency