Addis Ababa, January 20, 2022 (Walta) – It is time for Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan to nurture the narrative towards building peace, cooperation, mutual co-existence, and development of all our people without harming one another, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.
In a statement issued, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed underlined that Ethiopia has the ambition to build a modern economy based on agriculture, manufacturing, and industry.
It is committed to developing social infrastructure with quality education, health systems, and the provision of clean water for its people, he said.
Ethiopia also aims to nurture a clean environment able to sequester carbon and emit net zero carbon; to maintain biological diversity and to build a resilient ecosystem that is not exposed to climate vulnerabilities, the Prime Minister stated.
The key to realizing such ambitions, however, is rooted in energy. For Ethiopia, the most comparative advantage in its energy generation needs is hydropower, as it is blessed both by topography and water resources.
“Electricity is a basic infrastructure lacking in Ethiopia and over 53% of my fellow citizens or about 60 Million people do not have access. Without electricity no country has ever managed to defeat poverty, brought about inclusive growth, secured a dignified life for its citizens, and managed to attain sustainable economic, social and environmental development,” he stressed.
“Hence Ethiopia believes that Nile waters can be developed reasonably and equitably for the benefit of all people of riparian countries, without causing significant harm,” he noted.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a good example that is demonstrative of the principle of cooperation. The dam has been constructed through the earnest contribution of all citizens of Ethiopia and holds multiple benefits for the two downstream countries of Sudan and Egypt, as well as the East African region at large.
The Prime Minister indicated that a large volume of the Nile water body, amounting to about 85%, originates from the highlands of Ethiopia. As a transboundary resource, this water traverses through Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. The Ethiopian side comes from the tributaries of Abbay, Baro, and Tekeze rivers while the other 15% of the Nile comes from other upstream Nile riparian countries. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, (GERD), is under construction near the border with the Sudan, where all tributaries of the Abbay join the main stem of the river. This consequently makes the location ideal to maximize electricity generation, he stated.
“The major function of the GERD is to manage the highly variable flow of the Abbay and produce 15,700-Gigawatt hour per year electricity since for Ethiopia electricity remains a resource that is enormously lacking. A large quantity of the flow (about 90%) occurs within four months of the rainy season and during the rest of the year, the mighty Abbay trickles like a small river. The dam is needed to regulate this variable flow by reducing flooding and augmenting dry flow.”