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‘Possible Defects’ Delay Completion of Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

‘Possible Defects’ Delay Completion of Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Saturday, 15 December, 2018 - 12:30
A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region. Reuters
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
An Ethiopian official said the country's controversial Renaissance Dam project on the Nile River will not be completed before 2022, more than four years behind schedule, because of possible defects with the hydro-electrical plant's equipment.

The dam's Construction Manager, Kifle Hora, said that the construction team has concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country's military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation.

“We have a plan to generate power from the first two units within the coming two years and then probably the dam will be completed in the year 2022,” Hora explained.

He said experts were assessing equipment for possible defects and would devise remediation plan.

Al-Arabiya TV network quoted the Ethiopian News Agency as saying that the construction of the dam has been delayed because of a change in its design, which led to increased capacity and delayed the execution of electro-mechanical works.

When completed, the dam, which is expected to generate 6.45 megawatts of electricity, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant and the seventh largest dam in the world.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have held a series of meetings on the four-billion-dollar dam, without reaching an agreement despite some progress, according to Reuters.

Egypt fears the project will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia’s highlands and via Sudan.

Whereas Ethiopia, which hopes to become the continent’s biggest power generator and exporter, dismisses the claims.

The official Middle East News Agency (MENA) quoted Egypt’s Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly as saying, after his talks in Addis Ababa with his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed in November, that the two countries had agreed to speed up the talks.

“The two sides agreed to start bilateral talks within the next two weeks to reach consensus on issues that they have not agreed upon yet.”

Ahmed stressed keenness on Cairo’s rights in the Nile River, MENA said.

In August, Ethiopia’s Premier said that the construction of the dam will be delayed for several years after it was expected to be completed by 2020.

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