The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is almost complete and it is a regional hope of the Nile Basin
GERD is the regional hope of the Nile Basin
By Challa Gemeda
Tigrai Online, Oct. 4, 2017
The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has continued without any interruption even for a second for the past six years. All the hydropower dams, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have significant contribution to the realization of the Renaissance of the country. GERD is one of the major projects that could contribute the lion’s share in alleviating poverty and benefiting all people along the Nile Basin.
The construction of the Dam has seen more than 60 percent completion. The people and government of Ethiopia have financed the 4.8 billion USD worth dam. Upon its completion, the hydro-dam and the resulting artificial lake behind the Dam would evidently benefit most riparian particularly those in the downstream both in supplying power and regulated flow of water.
Ethiopians’ are supplying the entire inputs required for the construction. Apart from funding the project, Ethiopian youth is also burning the candle at both ends at the site of the construction. The people’s zeal in making the Dam a reality has been increasing by leaps and bounds.
Ethiopians have never shunned from seizing all kinds of fundraising opportunities. The GERD Trophy and GERD Bond have still been involved all segments of the society in funding the construction.
A considerable amount of money had also been collected as a result of GERD Tombola and GERD
Lottery, says GERD Public Coordination Office Communication Director Hailu Abraham. “The GERD Trophy, GERD Tombola and GERD Diaspora wing have helped us get 10.3 billion Birr only this year.”
In addition, the Diaspora community has also contributed in kind to foster the Dam’s construction. The Ethiopian Diaspora Community in Dubai for instance bought and sent a Toyota RAV4 vehicle.
According to the information from GERD Public Mobilization and Participation Office, in the past Ethiopian budget year alone over 1.3 billion Birr has been collected from the Diaspora community. To the surprise of all, the public’s commitment to funding the project is showing a marked increase year in and year out. For instance, in the initial days of the GERD trophy tours in Amhara and Oromia States 432 million and 600 million Birr were secured respectively. It is also known that 1.1 billion Birr has been secured as a result of the GERD trophy fund raising tour in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ State.
Moreover, public servants have also continued their contribution, most of them in the seventh and sixth round. The exemplary deeds of Ethiopian are not limited to creating a pool of finance, the people, particularly the farmers, are also working tirelessly to increase the volume of Nile Waters by protecting and conserving the Nile Echo-system in the Ethiopian boundary. In this respect, the labor cost which has been incurred to transplant seedlings and construct conservation structures, among other similar works, has hit 49 billion Birr.
Thus, any activity by Ethiopian farmers, which impacts positively on the waters of the Nile is a recipe to strengthen the socioeconomic benefits of fellow people of the basin countries, and downstream
Countries are the major beneficiaries. It is also a living monument for posterity.
The benefits which could conspicuously be seen upon the Dam’s completion would let the generation learn how the millions of people living in the basin system can utilize the resource to their development and beyond.
The self-financed flagship project has won the hearts and minds of many east African countries. Hence, countries like Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda has shown keen interest on importing energy from Ethiopia. From this point of view, one can say that Ethiopians are not only contributing to the Dam, but they are also doing their best to foster the regional economic integration.
The government, apart from coordinating the task of financing the Dam, has also been engaged in a series of diplomatic works to convince the riparian countries and the international community on the benefits of the Dam.
The government has put in black and white that Ethiopia has no any intention to harm any downstream
Country. In addition to emphasizing this stand, Ethiopians have taken practical steps to ensure the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile water by signing and ratifying the Cooperative Framework of Agreement on Nile (CFA). It is later signed and ratified by Rwanda and Tanzania. South Sudan, Kenya, Burundi and Uganda have signed it and most of them are in the process of ratifying the document.
The establishment of the International Panel of Experts that consists of 10 members: two experts from each of Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan, including experts from Germany, France, England and South Africa has been one major stride. Ethiopia, itself the owner of the Dam, initiated to form this committee, inviting in good faith the two downstream countries.
The GERD does not minimize the water share of the lower basin countries, Egypt and the Sudan in particular. On the contrary, the GERD provides the lower riparian countries with a number of advantages. One advantage of the GERD is enabling the lower basin countries exercise effective water management.
Preventing recurrent flooding, minimizing evaporation, reducing siltation and sedimentation would be some of the generous contributions of Ethiopians as a result of the Dam and the environmental protection works which have been carried out in the river system in the Ethiopia’s boundary. If this writer has said this much about Ethiopians contribution and the GERD’s benefits, it suffices to include the moral responsibilities the riparian countries.
In this regard, the riparian countries need further boost their cooperation. The GERD is an example a ‘can do’ mentality. Indeed, the riparian countries can not only accomplish projects on their own, but they can also do miracles. The magic wand to do that is obvious–cooperation. And the ticket to get on
board the cooperation board is signed and ratifying the CFA.
Ethiopia made vivid that the dam won’t inflict any harm on downstream countries Sudan and Egypt. The major objective of the construction of the dam is to use it as part of its poverty alleviation program so as to feed its millions of people who failed to win their daily bread. The intention is to create electric connectivity to all neighboring countries, so that all people could be benefited from its mega projects.
At the same time, the government will strengthen its efforts to advance the national consensus among the Ethiopian people to make poverty a history. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam symbolizes the strong solidarity built in Ethiopia based on mutual understanding and equality that brought together Ethiopians from all walks of life regardless of their differences.