Public Contribution to GERD Project Surpasses 13bln Br

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopians have so far contributed over 13 billion birr [close to 440 million US dollars] for the construction of Africa’s biggest hydropower dam, a government official said on Friday.

The National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the dam announced the amount has been contributed through various schemes including bond sales, sports events and lottery draws.

The 4 billion USD dam, the structure of which is expected to be finished next year, is at the heart of Ethiopia’s manufacturing and industrial dreams.

When fully operational, it is expected to be able to generate a massive 6,000 megawatts of electricity.

The Grand Ethiopian renaissance dam has been, however, beset by delays and disputes forcing the government to reschedule its completion day.

Council’s public relations director, Hailu Abraham, said now its construction “is going well” and the public has “become happy with that”.

He said they are showing that with their increasing contribution.

Within the last three months alone, the public has contributed 168 million birr, which according to government, is 63 million birr more than the amount collected during the same period of the previous year.

“What we need now is moral support from the public as we all Ethiopians want to see our dream of completing the project become true,” Hailu told to reporters.

He also noted that Ethiopia is building the dam based on scientific studies and international law which allows the country to develop its natural resource.

“Nothing can stop the project, which is about 70% complete, he said, urging the public to be united and stand together to finish the project up.

By Sisay Sahlu