Ethiopia Admits Mistakes Impeding 'Renaissance Dam'

Ethiopia Admits Mistakes Impeding 'Renaissance Dam'

Monday, 27 August, 2018 - 06:00
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is under construction near Assosa, Ethiopia. ELIAS ASMARE / AP
Cairo, Khartoum- Sawsan Abu Hussein and Ahmed Younes
Two days after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's announcement that Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (al-Nahda Dam) project on the Nile is facing financial and technical problems, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Egyptian head of Intelligence Abbas Kamel are expected to arrive Monday in Addis Ababa to deliver a letter from President Abdul Fatah Sisi.

Egypt worries about the dam’s impact on the Nile and fears it would reduce waters that run to its reservoirs from Ethiopia’s highlands and via Sudan.

Experts said the comments of the Ethiopian PM offers Egyptian mediators more time to negotiate and enough justifications to readdress issues related to the safety of the Dam and its administration and implementation.

Sources expect that Monday’s meeting in Addis Ababa would prepare for a tripartite meeting between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said in a statement on Sunday: “The visit aims to follow up on the Egyptian-Ethiopian relations, means of their enhancement, and the updates of the Renaissance Dam negotiations in light of the efforts exerted to implement the 2015 Declaration of Principles and the outcome of the last meeting held in Addis Ababa in May 2018.”

Abu Zeid added that the meeting would also tackle the establishment of a joint developmental fund for infrastructure between the two countries and Sudan.

On Saturday, the Ethiopian PM said that the construction of the dam was planned to be completed in five years.

However, he added, “we will not be able to finish on time because of the failing management of the project, especially with the intervention of Metek (a company affiliated to the Ethiopian defense force).”

He added the company was also mismanaged due to its board’s lack of experience in managing huge projects

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, formerly known as the Millennium Dam, is a $4 billion hydroelectric project that will be the largest in Africa when completed.

Egypt’s share of Nile water sits at 55.5 billion cubic meters, while Sudan’s quota is 18.5 billion cubic meters.

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