March 13, 2014
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project will become partially-operational by September 2015, according to Zadig Abraha, head of the project’s supervisory committee.
Initially, Abraha added, the mega-dam will be able to produce 750 megawatts of electricity. When finalized in 2017, it will have a 6000-megawatt production capacity, according to government sources.
Abraha went on to say that the Grand Renaissance Dam would yield annual revenues of some $2 billion while providing countries of the region – such as Kenya, Djibouti, Sudan, Yemen and South Sudan – with a new source of electricity.
“Revenue will also be subject to growth as [electricity] production increases,” Abraha asserted at a Wednesday press conference.
Ethiopia is determined to build a series of dams on the Nile River in order to generate electricity, both for local consumption and export.
The project has led to heightened tensions with Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, which fears the potential reduction of its own share of Nile water.
Addis Ababa, however, insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.
The total cost of the dam, which remains under construction, is estimated at $4 billion, according to official reports.