Ministers of Water Affairs of Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan have visited the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Project on 17 October 2017.
Hoping to further boost the level of existing transparency and in turn uplift the confidence among the three countries with regard to the Dam, Ethiopia has facilitated the visit.
During the visit minister of water, irrigation and electricity of Ethiopia, Engineer Sileshi Bekele, explained to his counterparts about the major positive impacts the mega-project will have both in Ethiopia as well as the countries of the region upon its completion.
Commending Ethiopia for facilitating the visit, the Minister of Water Affairs of the Sudan noted this important visit signals that the cooperation between the three countries is at an improved stage than any other time.
On the next day, on 18 October 2017, a trilateral ministerial meeting took place during which the pending issues regarding the international Panel of Expert’s (IPoE) two recommended studies was discussed. During the meeting, Water Ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have drafted a guideline that would guide the activities of the two consulting firms that will conduct impact analysis.
“We have drafted the guideline on the pending issues basically on how to forward the implementation of the consultants”, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, of Ethiopia, Seleshi Bekele said.
The two French consultancy firms – BRL and Artelia – were selected to undertake the recommended studies on the possible impacts of the dam.
Seleshi said “In today’s deliberation we had certain issues that were pending and which needed the attention of the Ministers”.
According to him, the guidelines are to be finalized in the near future by reconvening at one particular spot where the date and time to be determined very soon.
The countries selected the firms to undertake the studies following the “Declaration of Principles” signed by leaders of the three countries in 2015 in Khartoum, Sudan.
Built on the Nile, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is expected to start generating hydroelectric power in the current fiscal year. Upon completion, the dam will be Africa’s largest with 6,450 MW installed power generating capacity. It is being built for an estimated cost of 4.7 billion USD, and its total volume amounts 74,000 cubic meters. Built thanks to entirely domestic funds, the dam has been considered as a landmark project signaling Ethiopia’s Renaissance.