Since the start of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Ethiopia has been repeatedly asserting that the Dam will also have huge benefits for downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.
While GERD has enormous economic benefits to Ethiopia in terms of hydropower and in meeting the skyrocketing power demand for its citizens and economic sectors, it will also bring huge benefits to Sudan and Egypt by preventing up to 86 percent of silt and sedimentation. It will regulate the steady water flow throughout the year and it will avoid unexpected flooding to downstream countries.
Cognizant of this fact, the Sudanese side has been supporting the construction of the Dam ever since its commencement, though it seemed not the case in the very recent negotiations. There might be different reasons for this but it does not change the fact that by constructing GERD, Ethiopia has no intention to harm the interests of both Sudan and Egypt. The crux of the matter, as has been confirmed through expertise and scientific studies, GERD would do more good than harm for all parties involved.
In recent times, there has been a huge increase in power demand in Africa. To alleviate this challenge, GERD will play a vital role in East Africa countries as well as Egypt for securing the electric supply. The power will be exported to East Africa countries including Sudan to improve the coverage of electricity. It will be clean and renewable energy hub for the region at cheaper prices. With this, it is expected to be a catalyst for regional economic integration.
Considering the proximity of GERD to Sudan and the age long cultural, people to people and historical tie between the two countries, Sudan will obviously become among the first countries to enjoy the benefits of the GERD once it is completed and start operation.
True, for long, it has been witnessed that the two countries always maintain a very good and sisterly relationships even at times when there is a change of government in the respective countries’ capitals. On Tuesday, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Sudan and met with Lt. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The Premier was expected to have fruitful discussions with the Sudanese leaders centering on key issues of interest for both countries.
The meeting, which is held at a time when negotiations over GERD has become a burning issue, is expected to further cement the two countries’ age old relations. And PM Abiy has expressed this boldly.
I reaffirmed Ethiopia’s solidarity with Sudan to Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok in our discussions today in Khartoum. Our commitment to economic integration, joint progress, and regional stability remains, as we explore the abundant opportunities to enhance our bilateral ties.”