With the five year anniversary of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) done and dusted, excitement about the project has yet to die down. From lottery tickets, bonds, and personal donations, most Ethiopians appear to be firmly behind the project.
The dam is scheduled for a grand opening in 2017, with 60% of the construction completed. Egypt and Sudan remain concerned about the project, and have been since the project was first announced in 2010. Both countries are beneficiaries of the Nile, and are worried how Africa’s biggest hydroelectric power plant, will impact their water supply and agriculture industries. Earlier in May, Ethiopia hosted a tripartite meeting, to discuss the technical studies of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Dutch and French consultancy firms are currently conducting technical studies to determine the safety and environmental impact of the dam. The Ethiopian government remains adamant that the dam will not negatively impact the Nile’s downstream countries. Beyond the regional concerns, some critics have argued that a smaller dam would have been more cost effective, as GERD is designed for the rainy season’s 2-3 months peak flow rate.
Key facts about GERD:
- GERD will generate 6 000MW of electrcity
- The project is estimated to cost $6.4 billion
- The project will be the biggest hydroelectric power plant in Africa
- The Nile is the longest river in Africa and 10 countries rely on its water supply