Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Construction ‘Making Progress’

ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has expressed his satisfaction with the construction progress of renaissance dam Ethiopia is building on a blue Nile River.

Officials of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Project updated Prime Minister Abiy – who visited the multibillion-dollar dam’s construction site on Saturday – on its progress.

“I am pleased to see the development…. and the continuation of civil work by all contractors, drawing closer our continental power generation victory day,” he said on his official twitter page.

About 70 percent complete, the dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, with a projected capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts.

Abiy – who recounted the enormity of the vision – emphasized “the importance of working effectively to realize dreams of having Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam”, according to the Prime Minister office.

Ethiopia plans to start filling the reservoir behind the dam in July 2020, though construction has been hit by delays. Officials said the delays had been caused due to poor management.

Abiy shared the measures taken over the past year by the Government to address the problems the project was confronted with, the PM office said.

“In one year, key progress has been made in building the early power generation waterways hydro-mechanical and electromechanical works which had been stalled for some time, thereby severely hampering set completion times of the Dam,” he said.

The Prime Minister also “encouraged all contractors to work harmoniously in accelerating progress and marking key milestones for early power generation”, according to his office.

Ethiopia sees the hydropower project as crucial to its economic development. The downstream countries, especially Egypt, are worried the dam could affect the flow of the Nile.

Abiy, however, expressed commitment to equitable usage of the waters “without any ill intentions for downstream countries”, according to his office.

The dam project is due to be completed in 2023.