News / Africa

Ethiopia Diverts Nile for Huge $4.7 Billion Hydro Dam

A boat cruises in the Egyptian Nile River in Cairo, May 28, 2013.
A boat cruises in the Egyptian Nile River in Cairo, May 28, 2013.
Reuters
Ethiopia began diverting a stretch of the Nile on Tuesday to make way for a $4.7 billion hydroelectric dam that is worrying downstream countries dependent on the world's longest river for water.

The Horn of Africa country has laid out plans to invest more than $12 billion in harnessing the rivers that run through its rugged highlands, to become Africa's leading power exporter.

Centerpiece to the plan is the Grand Renaissance Dam being built in the Benishangul-Gumuz region bordering Sudan. Now 21 percent complete, it will eventually have a 6,000 megawatt capacity, the government says, equivalent to six nuclear power plants.

“The dam is being built in the middle of the river so you can't carry out construction work while the river flowed,” said Mihret Debebe, chief executive officer of the state-run Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, at a ceremony at the site.

“This now enables us to carry out civil engineering work without difficulties. The aim is to divert the river by a few meters and then allow it to flow on its natural course.”

Ethiopia's ambitions have heightened concerns in Egypt over fears the projects may reduce the river's flow. Addis Ababa has long complained that Cairo was pressuring donor countries and international lenders to withhold funding.

Ethiopia's energy minister moved to dispel fears over the dam's impact.

“The dam's construction benefits riparian countries, showcases fair and equitable use of the river's flow and does not cause any harm on any country,” Alemayehu Tegenu said in a speech.

Mohamed Bahaa El-Din, Egypt's Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, said Cairo was not opposed to Ethiopia's development projects as long as they did not harm downstream countries.

“Crises in the distribution and management of water faced in Egypt these days and the complaints of farmers from a lack of water confirms that we cannot let go of a single drop of water from the quantity that comes to us from the Upper Nile,” he said.

A panel of experts from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan is set to announce its findings on the impact of the Ethiopian dam on the Nile's flow in the next two weeks.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Optimist from: Everywhere
May 30, 2013 6:10 PM
Water will be the source of conflict within the next decade. Egypt and Sudan vis-a-vis Ethiopia are going to have a very difficult relationship in the coming few years, unless they start looking at the concerns of everyone that depends on the river Nile. Egypt's 100% source of survival is the river Nile and Sudan's 80% water needs come from the river Nile. Ethiopia on the other hand is driven by the economic interest of the river Nile, for it has never used it as a source of food production or other means till now.

There is no major Ethiopian center that could have benefited from the river Nile till now, although that may change. It would take another $10 Billion for Ethiopia to get some benefit out of this Nile dam project. To transport electric power to the Central and North of the country where there are major centers and industries that would benefit from extra power, but would require plenty of transformers and power line. Already the country is investing $5 Billion, adding double that amount would rob the poor country its soul.

One solution could be for Egypt and Sudan to build two nuclear power plants for Ethiopia, close to major population centers. That would increase Ethiopia's power needs while reducing extra expenses envisaged by going hydro-power, not to mention safe and reliable power supply without fear of sabotage. Let's face it, the country has plenty of restive spots and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Nuclear power plant would take five to seven years to come to fruition, but hydro-power source would take longer with all the negatives associated to the dam project.

In addition to the two nuclear power plants, the three countries plus Eritrea can create an economic zone that would be free of tariffs to exchange goods and services. This would be win-win for everyone. Currently, those three countries exist on aid regiment, and that integration would give that corner of the world a 200 million population for a lasting demand for consumer goods and services to be economic powerhouse in the region and the continent.

by: Beyene from: Thailand
May 28, 2013 11:40 PM
"complaints of farmers from a lack of water"; How about death and starvation of people from lack of water!!!!!!! Every body must by now know Egypt and Ethiopia MUST live together OR wither out together!! I would prefer to live, and I think so does any Egyptian!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs