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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora