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We will bond for the Bond to generate light

The Support Group of GEMD, Dublin, Ireland
Nov. 08 2011

Ethiopian flag

I have no doubt....

We will bond for the Bond to generate light!

Ethiopian Grand Millennium Dam

Think of the Nile and you probably think of Egypt and Sudan, but many remain unaware that 85% of alluvial Nile originates from “The Water Tower of Africa”– ETHIOPIA. Centuries of impoverishment as well as the absence of a collective agreement on a fair and equitable use of the world’s longest river had proved insurmountable in our quest to exercise our right to harness the Nile. In short Ethiopia was doomed to wallow in poverty and backwardness, while the rest of the world was basking in riches.

The beginning of the end to this grossly unfair arrangement emerged when the Riparian Countries started talking among themselves in 2000. And after 10 years of difficult negotiations, a breakthrough was secured with the signing in 2010 of the “Agreement on the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework:”http://www.internationalwaterlaw.org/documents/regionaldocs/Nile_River_Basin_Cooperative_Framework_2010.pdf.

By May 2011 – the deadline for signing the accord – all the riparian countries save Egypt and Sudan, had placed their respective signatures on the Agreement. Egypt had asked for, and was granted, more time, in view of the fact that the country was in a state of flux following the Revolution. In short, the Agreement provided for a win-win formula whereby all riparian countries would benefit from a verifiably fair and equitable utilization of the waters of the Nile.

Ethiopia’s aha moment

On laying the foundation stone of the Euro 3.3 Billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on April 2nd 2011, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi gave an inspiring and animating speech. His “I have no doubt” speech – used to highlight his bet on which of the two difficult options Ethiopians will embrace i.e. “abandon the project or do whatever we must to raise the required funds” - breathed the magic of a better tomorrow. What followed in towns and cities throughout Ethiopia was an explosion of patriotic fervour unseen in peace time with millions of Ethiopians taking to the streets to give vent to their pent-up pangs of regret for the centuries which had elapsed without their Motherland benefitting from her share of the Nile. Long queues formed outside banks with people braving blazing heat to buy 5-10 year Treasury Bond while civil servants, businessmen and most heart-warming of all, school children hurried to make voluntary contributions. Bonds were sold out so quickly that the Government was forced to order for the production of more bonds. The GERD barometer is steadily rising and today stands at Birr 8 Billion. The white heat of enthusiasm has now spurred Ethiopians abroad to take a leaf out of their compatriots’ book. They have geared up for purchasing the Treasury Bonds from Ethiopian Embassies so that they too – like Ethiopians in the homeland – would leave their footprints in the sands of time.

Everything you need to know about GERD.

Q. Why does Ethiopia need to build hydro-electric dams?

A. Because she needs to electrify Ethiopia and generate light to her neighbours, the proceeds of which will go towards combating extreme poverty and secure food-security. Because the Government strongly believes that none of the 8 MDGs are achievable while remaining energy deficient. Indeed, so strong is the Government’s belief in the energy sector’s indispensable role in the nation’s socio-economic development, that it has plans to increase Ethiopia’s current generating capacity from 2,000mW to 10,000mW in the lifetime of its latest Five Year Growth and Transformation Plan.

Q. Where is the GERD being built and what are its technical features?

A. The construction-site of the GERD is located on the River Abay (the indigenous name of the Nile) within the Regional State of Beneshangul Gumuz approximately 750 km North West from Addis Ababa via Debre Markos and Chagni. GERD will have a plant with an installed capacity of 5,250mW and 15,128 GWH annual generation. The 145m high Dam with more than 10.5 Mm3 volume of RCC will create 63M m3 reservoir with a surface area of 1,680 km2 at full supply level. GERD will have two outdoor power houses with 3,500 and 1, 750 mW installed capacity containing 10 and 5 generating units respectively each with a capacity of 350 mW. Two independent switchyards on the right bank of the Dam will be transmitting power from the two powerhouses to the grid. There will be a Gated Spillway on the left side of the main dam equipped with 5 radial gates, with a capacity to discharge 11,870 m3/sec in the event of a flood. A saddle dam on the left side of the RCC dam with an emergency side spillway will allow overflow of water to be discharged directly into the River. The saddle dam will be a bituminous central core rock-filled dam (CCRD) approximately 5 km long and 45m high. (Source: Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, EEPCo)

Q. Has an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) been done on the GERD?

A. Yes. Not only has Ethiopia commissioned an independent panel to conduct EIA – whose findings have amply demonstrated that the Dam will not have an adverse effect on lower riparian countries – but the Government has extended an invitation to Egypt and Sudan to form a Tripartite Commission to look into all aspects of the GERD.

Q. What’s the price tag of the GERD and who will pick up the tab?

A. The total cost of GERD is a staggering Euro 3.3 billion. According to PMZ, if we are to find development finance, we have to raise our financial weight by developing the culture of saving. The Government will do everything possible to raise funds through increasing revenues and being prudent with public expenditure. All banks in Ethiopia will be expected to actively promote and accumulate savings. Most importantly, the people of Ethiopia will also be able to contribute their due share in bringing the construction of this historic Dam to completion. In order to enable every Ethiopian to do this the Government has launched Treasury Bonds offering 5% interest. By buying these bonds Ethiopians will, therefore, benefit themselves as well as bring the ongoing construction of the GERD to fruitful completion. By resolving to build GERD with our own resources we will be conveying two messages to the world: Firstly, as a direct result of our dedicated and ceaseless efforts over the past two decades, during which we have registered rapid economic development, we are today in a stronger position than at any time in the past to assert our right to use the resources of our own rivers. Secondly, our determination to exercise our rights by using our own rivers must be viewed as a manifestation of our convictions and resolves to rid poverty from our country.

Q. What are the interests and maturity periods of the Treasury Bonds?

A. Interest and non-interest bearing bonds are on offer, and the dividend from the bond is exempt from income tax.
Interest rates are as follows:
5 year bond= LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) + 1.25%
6-7 year bond= LIBOR +1.5%
8-10 year bond= LIBOR +2.0%

Q. Who are eligible to buy the Bond?

A. Ethiopian nationals and foreigners of Ethiopian origin (provided they possess a valid Foreigner of Ethiopian Origin ID (FEOI). FEOI are now available at all Ethiopian Embassies for the reduced fee of US 100 dollars.

Q. Can foreigners buy the Bond?

A. No, but friends of Ethiopia, who have Ethiopia’s best interests at heart, can make donations.

Q. Where is the Bond being sold?

A. At an Ethiopian Embassy near you.

Q. Who is co-ordinating the peoples’ response to this clarion call?

A. In its determination to crown the determined efforts of the people of Ethiopia with success, the Government of FDRE has established an umbrella organization known as the National Coordination Council for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. This body, in turn, devolves responsibility both in the homeland and abroad to elected representatives from youth and cultural organizations, community associations and from places of worship – all done in the spirit of participatory democracy and transparency. These Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Councils and Groups abroad work alongside FDRE Embassies to ensure that the momentum does not slow down as well as help devise ways and means of telling the international community that there is nothing to fear from the construction of the Dam.

GEMD symbolizes Ethiopia’s beneficial commitment to the countries of the Nile Basin!

Join “Friends of GEMD” – buy the Bond today!

Prepared by: The Support Group for the Construction of GEMD, Dublin, Ireland.