Ethiopia will continue with the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on River Nile despite Egypt disapproval; Seleshi Bekele, the Ethiopian minister of water, electricity and irrigation has said.
His remarks comes even as a ternary meeting to discuss the future of the dam ended without an agreement. Egypt has time and again raised concerns that the huge hydro dam on the Nile would affect its share of water.
Egypt president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi recently issued a stern warning to Ethiopia over the mega dam. He said that water is a matter of life or death and no one can touch Egypt’s share of water.
This is Ethiopia’s first major dam on the Blue Nile. It will eventually start filling the giant reservoir behind it to power the Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.
Mr Bekele said that construction of the Dam is 63% complete and is expected to generate electricity soon.
The Renaissance Dam now in its seventh year has had a fair share of its challenges. Early this year Ethiopia Federal High Court sentenced members of a rebel group, the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM), for their role in a hand grenade attack that killed nine people in an attempt to disrupt work on the Grand Ethiopian Rennaissance Dam.
Frequent discussions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the hydro electric dam have also bore no fruits.
Ethiopia says the dam is essential to its development and has repeatedly sought to reassure Egypt. However, Cairo’s efforts to persuade Addis Ababa to engage in closer coordination over the dam appear to have made little headway.
Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Meles Alem defended the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project. He further explained that the country does not need anyone’s permission to benefit from its natural resources.