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Grand Renaissance Dam

The battle for the Nile with Egypt over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam has just begun

Africa’s longest river, the Nile runs through 11 countries. One of them is Ethiopia which contributes about 85% of the Nile water flowing to Sudan and Egypt. The 11 nations are hoping that the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is currently under construction, will open up many new opportunities from electric power supply to reducing evaporation losses. When completed, the dam will have installed capacity to generate 6000 MW electricity to relieve Ethiopia’s acute energy shortage and also export to Sudan and possibly Egypt. The dam can store 74 billion cubic meters of water, about half the volume of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt. A project of this size also, inevitably, brings challenges. Some of these relate to technical issues and other to the region’s politics. MENA VIA AP Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in Cairo. Diplomatic concerns include the fact that, for a long time, Egypt and Sudan have believed that they have more right to the waters of the Nile than other countries. The Nile Basin Initiative was set up in 1999 to foster cooperation among the 11 countries that share the river. But its work has been hindered by Sudan and Egypt’s attitude, among other issues. A new book, which I coauthored, explores why Ethiopia took unilateral decision in 2011 to begin construction on the dam. It also looks at what pushed …

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