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Ethiopia to press ahead with Africa’s biggest hydropower dam

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been under construction since 2011.
The Blue Nile river flows from the highland in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia. Image: Bloomberg

Ethiopia’s government vowed to continue work on a massive dam that’s stoked tensions with Egypt, even as the Horn of Africa nation contends with the growing spread of the coronavirus.

Completing what would be Africa’s largest hydropower reservoir, filling it and producing electricity is a top priority for Ethiopia, State Minister for Finance Eyob Tekalign said on a conference call Thursday. The government on April 8 declared a state of emergency over coronavirus, which has so far infected 56 Ethiopians.

“We might reprioritise projects because of this crisis, but the GERD, I assure you, is not one of them,” Eyob said. “We are going to keep the timeline. We will fill the dam and start generating power.”

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been under construction since 2011 and is already five years behind schedule. Egypt and Ethiopia’s government are at odds over how quickly the dam is filled because the reservoir will tap the main tributary of the Nile River, which Egypt relies on as its only source of fresh water. US-mediated talks between the two countries and Sudan to end the dispute broke down in February.

Egypt and Ethiopia — both with populations of about 100 million people and the fastest-growing economies in their respective regions — say the future of the Nile is a matter of national security, though they’ve previously dismissed any concerns that the dispute could trigger a war. In recent weeks, the Ethiopian military has said it’s willing and able to defend the dam from any attacks, as it showcased it military prowess near the site of the dam in images broadcast on national television.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will generate about 6 000 megawatts once completed. Ethiopia plans to export some of the electricity it produces to neighbouring states.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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Fascinating….have brushed up some “River Nile” knowledge on Wikipedia. Upwards from Khartoum the Nile splits into the “White Nile” snaking through Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda to Lake Victoria.

On Google Earth’s satellite maps, this White Nile tributary appears to be way larger / voluminous that, in comparison to the other “Blue Nile” tributary leading into Ethiopia.

Interestingly….it’s Ethiopia’s Blue Nile as source that provides 80% of the water to the main Nile.

OK, Ethiopia can boast about its military defenses near the dam….but what if Egypt tries to attack this dam? Egypt could purchase old mothballed Avro Lancaster bombers from Britain’s ‘dam busters” 617 Squadron. You’re not going to stop a “Lanc” with an AK47 or a RPG-7 rocket 😉

Question is, does Ethiopia’s military operate at night? (as the Lancaster attack will classically be at night…)

Ethiopia are willing to poison the dam. Rumours around this have surfaced many times before. That’s why Egypt treads carefully

Ethiopia the aggressor would like to picture itself as the victim of Egypt. Sarcastic … but true ! Egypt is not threatening Ethiopia to cut the water it is Ethiopia that is doing that. Egypt is not the one who negotiated for (9) years only to gain time to build the dam, it is Ethiopia that did that. Egypt is not the one who is not willing to sign an agreement, it is Ethiopia that is doing that. As we all know the dam turbines have been reduced to (12) instead of (16) due to defective dam design. This will not make the dam produce enough electricity Ethiopia was claiming it was trying to accomplish. Ethiopia also has no interest in using all the Nile water for agriculture needs. So the question is, why is Ethiopia doing that ? … for sure it is not the electricity issue ! The answer flat out is … Ethiopia has hidden agendas ! The untold story is that Ethiopia is trying to bring Egypt down to its knees. Ethiopia believes that Egypt is the old history and it is time for it to go, while the future in Africa is for Ethiopia! so lets finish Egypt now … once and for all !

End of comments.

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