September 5, 2014

Egypt, Ethiopia at loggerheads over Nile dam

Egypt, Ethiopia at loggerheads over Nile dam

Egypt, Ethiopia at loggerheads over Nile damThe ongoing construction of a 6000MW power dam on river Nile by Ethiopia has been a source of contention especially from Egypt that considers the River Nile as its lifeline.

Egypt’s concern remains that the operation of a dam by Ethiopia on the Nile will reduce the amount of water it gets, hence threatening its livelihood. Despite this, Ethiopia says that it will beat its deadline of finalizing construction by 2017, with the first phase of power production expected in 2015. The foreign affairs minister of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry is in Ethiopia for further talks on the Nile issue.

Since 2013, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have been in disagreement over how to implement the recommendations an International Panel of Experts report that was released in 2013. The report recommended conducting two studies to assess the effects of GERD on downstream countries Egypt and Sudan, including the environmental and socioeconomic impacts.

Following tripartite discussions on the Dam construction, done by minister from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, in Khartoum it has been decided that two studies be conducted to ascertain the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) under a six-month deadline. These are hydrological study and trans-boundary environmental and social economic studies. Egypt’s contention against Ethiopia’s dam construction emanates from the colonial agreements where British granted it an annual share of 55.5bn cubic metres out of the 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year.

Egypt, Ethiopia at loggerheads over Nile dam

However, the other 10 countries that share the Nile have disputed these claims saying that colonial agreements do not hold. Egypt has in the past rejected reports offered by Ethiopia to validate the dam construction on River Nile. It insists that it will only accept the dam construction after these new studies approve its existence.

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