Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan announced Tuesday that they have reached consensus to put into practice provisions in the Declaration of Principles regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The three parties have reached an agreement on the consultancy firms which would conduct the technical studies on GERD, noting that the French Artelia and BRL groups have been selected to undertake impact studies on the Dam.
Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a Declaration of Principles on the dam project that tacitly approves the construction of the dam but calls for technical studies aimed at safeguarding the water quotas of the three riparian states.
GERD is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and it will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic meters of water.
Egypt is negotiating with Ethiopia over two main issues: the time line set by Ethiopia for filling the dam, as well as agreeing on an independent firm to conduct studies on the possible impact of the dam on the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.
However, the government of Ethiopia continuously reiterates that the dam will not cause harm to any Nile Basin country, saying that it is mainly aimed at generating power for a country where only 10 per cent of the Ethiopian population have a consistent electricity service.
The government of Ethiopia is being transparent on the construction of GERD project to promote partnership and to build mutual trust. It is also extending invitation to the public diplomacy and the media in Sudan and Egypt to visit GERD.
The March Declaration, signed between Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir provides for joint cooperation on issues related to the_River Nile.
The 1929 Nile Agreement between Egypt and Britain, the then colonial power which was at the time representing three other Nile basin countries – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – guaranteed Egypt 48 billion cubic meters of Nile water.
The 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan increased Egypt’s share to 55 billion cubic meters following the building of the High Dam in Upper Egypt’s Aswan.
In May 2010, five Nile basin countries – Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement of the Nile Basin Countries, dubbed the Entebe Agreement, declaring the_1929 and 1959 agreements were void and invalid because they were written and ratified under British colonialism.
The multi-billion dollar dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometers from the Sudanese border, and has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 MW.
Source: Ethiopian Herald