The Ethiopian Hrald BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Sudan and Egypt have had to say more negative things about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The countries, however, deliberately missed out on this every day to acknowledge the contributions the project would bring to the downstream countries.
The solid and undeniable fact is constructing a dam upstream plays a major role in maintaining the environment and reducing the magnitude of drought and things of that sort.
The downstream countries particularly Sudan faces unprecedented flooding risk year on year putting millions of lives in danger. Last year, the country was hit by an exceptional flood that destroyed hundreds of homes while deluging others.
Heavy downpours often hit the country between June and October resulting in significant flooding. For years, Sudan has been facing flooding endangering cities and towns. Semi-arid and arid countries are more prone to climatic variability than temperate ones. And, droughts and flooding in Sudan are most likely to be caused by climate change.
For years, Sudan has been facing flooding endangering cities and towns. Water infrastructure development of upstream countries including reservoir construction is the best alternative to mitigate extreme hydrological events, including the alteration of and flooding, most likely to be caused by climate change.
With this being the fact, Sudan and Egypt have been engaged in defaming the GERD while intentionally hiding the fact the project helps both countries to minimize their risks to flooding. But they pretend that the construction of the GERD would rather affect them.
Putting the benefits aside, the countries tried to politicize and internationalize the matter. There has been also an intrigue by Cairo to stop the construction of the dam. Despite the obstacles, the construction of the dam is progressing well with the second filling completed last year. Obviously, the successful accomplishment of the second filling GERD also testifies the unwavering resolve and defiance of Ethiopians against all odds.
Even though some forces turn on the charm, Ethiopia came victorious both technically and politically. Prior to the announcement of the second filling, the plot by Egypt to internationalize the issue came shortly after the UNSC refused Cairo what it wanted.
The announcement of the successful completion of the second phase filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) upped euphoria among the public, a strong force behind the dam. People from all walks of life across the nation took to the streets to express their excitement and continued support for the construction of GERD.
The hysteria came in defiance of foreign intervention and ongoing misinformation against Ethiopia in what some describe as coordinated effort and collusion of internal and external forces to weaken the nation. For many though, the accomplishment of the second filling of the dam proves Ethiopia’s endurance and invincibility against all odds.
This week, as the country prepares to commence power generation, it has reaffirmed its resolve towards a collective approach to utilize the shared resource. In a statement issued Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the downstream countries benefit from water conservation at the GERD instead of wastage of billions of cubic meters of water to evaporation and in downstream flood plains. The GERD also helps to prevent future spillage that overtops the Aswan Dam, Abiy added.
Globally and in the Nile region, the GERD as a clean renewable energy source would help to reduce emissions that could avoid up to 10.6 million tons of greenhouse gases if it were produced from fuel, coal, or gas plants. Hence, the development of the GERD plays an important role in meeting and increasing renewable energy generation share towards Sustainable Development (SDG) Goal 7 and better water management of Goal 6 of the SDGs, as well as meeting many targets of Africa’s Agenda 2063, according to the premier.
For the Nile region and for all its citizens, the GERD has the potential to stabilize the energy mix. Hydropower, due to its nature of flexible operation and suitability, can be put in operation in a matter of minutes and can enhance the harnessing of other energy sources of solar and wind energy that are variable depending on weather and climate. Undoubtedly, it will also enable affordable energy provision to the region.
While perceived negative factors have been made more visible in the GERD discourse, the positive attributes rather outweigh the opposing rhetoric and downplay the potential for cooperation to mitigate negative factors, if such factors exist.
It is time for our three countries of 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. The Nile in general and the GERD project, in particular, are opportune for such a higher purpose.
“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. Hence why 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 added.
He elucidated that 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.
Ethiopia’s intention in constructing the GERD is to connect its population living off the grid. This means, as a hydropower dam, the GERD does not consume water. Rather the water continues to flow downstream uninterrupted. Notwithstanding the fact that 86% of the Nile waters originate from Ethiopia, the downstream countries particularly Egypt has been using the river solely. The country has never attempted to resolve predicaments related to the Nile River in a calm atmosphere and rather used the issue as first aid for its internal problems.