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.
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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

Day in Photos

A dog, with his fur dyed green and wearing antlers made out of red fabric, poses for a photograph before participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in El Paso, Texas, United States, Nov. 26, 2015.

A dog, with his fur dyed green and wearing antlers made out of red fabric, poses for a photograph before participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in El Paso, Texas, United States, Nov. 26, 2015.