Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officially launched, on Sunday, electricity generation in the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, a controversial project worth billions of dollars, according to an AFP correspondent immediately.
Officials said Abi Ahmed, accompanied by a number of senior officials, toured the power station and clicked a series of switches on an electronic screen to start production.
“This great dam was built by Ethiopians, but for the benefit of all Africans, so that all our African brothers and sisters would benefit from it,” said a senior official who attended the opening.
Since the project was launched in 2011, GERD (“the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam”) has been in conflict with Sudan and Egypt, both of which depend on the Nile for their water resources.
Cairo invokes a “historic right” to the river, guaranteed since a 1929 treaty between Egypt and Sudan, then represented by the United Kingdom, the colonial power. Egypt obtained a veto over the construction of projects on the river.
In 1959, after an agreement with Khartoum on water sharing, Egypt allocated a share of 66% of the annual flow of the Nile, in exchange for 22% for Sudan.
Being not a party to these agreements, Ethiopia did not consider itself bound by them, and in 2010 a new treaty signed by the Nile Basin countries, despite opposition from Egypt and Sudan, removed the Egyptian veto and authorized the projects of irrigation and hydroelectric dams.
The United Nations, which was taken into custody last summer, has recommended that the three countries continue their talks under the auspices of the African Union. Cairo and Khartoum, concerned about the water supply, demanded Addis Ababa to stop filling the dam.
However, last July Ethiopia embarked on the second phase of filling the dam, which was announced as one of the largest dams in Africa with an initial production target of 6,500 MW, revised down to 5,000 MW, at an estimated total cost of $4.2 billion (3.7 Billion dollar). euro).
The Grand Renaissance Dam is located on the Blue Nile, about thirty kilometers from the Sudanese border, and is 1.8 kilometers long and 145 meters high.
According to Ethiopian state media, Gerd’s initial production is around 375 megawatts with the first turbine in operation.
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