GERD will add values to economic integration
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Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam will add values to economic integration of East Africa
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is about to be completed and it is the biggest mega project
Ethiopia is building at the same time with many other mega projets.

GERD will add values to economic integration

By Tesfaye Lemma
Tigrai Online, Ethiopian News, Dec. 10, 2016


Ethiopia, situate in the volatile region of the Horn of Africa, has developed the experience of conflict resolution and ways of promoting peace and stability.  Recent reports indicated that peace poisoning countries like Eritrea have been attempting to destabilize the peace and stability in Ethiopia.  

In the past decade, there were a lot of failed terrorist attack plots exerted against Ethiopia, which were directly or indirectly sponsored by the rogue state in Eritrea and Egypt. For instance, the recent violence in Ethiopia was backed by Egypt, which annoyed many of Ethiopians. The coordinator of Congo and Nile Rivers Dr. Nancy told an Egyptian television that Egypt is working hard to aggravate the violence in Oromiya Regional State so as to destabilize the region in a bid to hamper the construction of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.   

The recent scenario is so disgusting that the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met the Eritrean president Issays Afeworki last week in Cairo. According to The New Arab, the meeting was a "deliberate move" against Ethiopia in a bid to demonstrate the possibility of cooperation that could pressure Ethiopia to be more flexible in dealing with the Renaissance Dam.  

The two presidents discussed on various ways that they thought it could persuade Ethiopia to change its stance on the construction of the Dam. However, Ethiopia has repeatedly made vivid that there won’t be any change in connection to GERD.  There is nix to change from the designed plan of the Dam at the very beginning as all the necessary assessments were done before the launching of its construction.  

Ethiopia has made vivid that the Dam has an immense benefit to downstream countries despite the frustrations Egypt has been raising so many times.  Although  the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has insignificant impact on downstream countries: Egypt and Sudan, Egypt has continued applying various options to jeopardize the construction.   

Many analysts substantiated this fact quoting Egypt’s cooperation with the Eritrean government and Oromo Liberation Front in their attempts to destabilize Ethiopia.  There are ample evidences that Egypt had provided a number of trainings to groups that aimed to attack Ethiopia particularly to the Oromo Liberation Front. The two countries have been sponsoring various terrorist attacks mainly the recent violence in some areas of the Ormiya and Amhara Regional States.   

 This is not the first action taken by the State in Asmara. It has been acting its provocative actions against Ethiopia since the cessation of Eritrea from Ethiopia. As a result, the two countries fought a two-year border war between 1998 and 2000 which left tens of thousands of citizens dead and a lot of property damaged. In fact, the motive behind these to countries is quite clear. Egypt has been attempting to maintain its water in the region. But the state in Eritrea has been simply cooperating with Egypt as it doesn’t want to see developed and prosperous Ethiopia.  

These forces have allied with some other groups at home so as to execute their destabilizing agenda. Although such attempts have disqualified so many times by the Ethiopia people and government, Ethiopia’s enemies have never ceased to mobilize all their capacity to execute their hidden agenda. They mainly focused on the various developments the country has been registering since the coming of the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front.   

Obviously Ethiopia has identified poverty as its arch foe. The country has been working industriously to alleviate it.  The government formulated a long term economic development strategy called, Agricultural Development Led-Industrialization which is geared towards sustained and accelerated economic transformation. The strategy geared towards incorporating export-based agricultural development to ascertain forward and backward linkages between agriculture and industry.  

Ethiopia has two major resources: land and labor. The government has been investing on areas that could properly harness these resources. The commitment of the government in preparing the ground work for rapid economic growth and industrialization depends on its efforts to develop the agricultural sector.  

As the same time, the country’s natural wealth is considered in the country’s effort for overall development. This consideration mainly included the rivers originating from Ethiopia and flowing to neighboring countries.   

The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is among the initiatives launched by the government to develop the country’s economy.  The broad based development activities in building mega projects in hydro power, railway, road, sugar, fertilizers, cement and other under construction and completed infrastructural developments in  the country aimed to enhance sustainable livelihood for the citizens.  

The dam would highly contribute to the efforts of government towards alleviating poverty by meeting the energy needs of the country.  The people of Ethiopia are now exerting maximum efforts in unison to finalize the mega project with 6000 MW power generating capacity.  Committed to develop its rivers, the country has set target in its five year plan to increase its generating capacity to over 17,000 MW by 2020, with an overall potential of 35,000 MW by 2037, which would help to sustain Ethiopia’s continued economic growth and enable it to become a regional renewable energy hub in East Africa.

It is planned to sell power to neighboring countries to ensure mutual benefits and cooperation and to create power integration among the neighboring countries and beyond. The grand project, which created jobs for 11, 000 youth and 350 expatriates, created a huge wave of public mobilization.   

The dam is the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, is also attracted hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian visitors. Some 200,000 people drawn from across the country and representatives of many international media institutions were visited the project, which is well underway. The government and the public have pledged to complete the project with a motto that displays their readiness to realize the project with local resources. The grand dam is enabling the nation to realize the slogan of ensuring mutual benefit from word to meaningful action, he said.   

The construction is estimated to cost a total of 4.7 billion USD is being funded by the government and people of Ethiopia. There was a pledge of  total 12.4 billion birr by the public for the construction of the dam. Documents from GERD Public Mobilization Office indicated that close to 8.8 billion Birr was collected till the end of 2008 fiscal year.  

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is under construction in Benishangul- Gumuz Regional State, 830 km from Addis Ababa.   The construction of the dam has now progressed to over 54 per cent. It will ensure the beneficiary of Ethiopians as well as riparian countries with mutual beneficiary and cooperation. Although some groups in the region mainly in Eritrea and Egypt advocate as if GERD only benefits Ethiopians, political and economic analysts argue that this project has immense benefit to the entire people in the region.

It will play a significant role in enhancing the economic integration of countries along the Nile Basin apart from its contribution to minimize water evaporation, minimize flood and maintain constant amount of water that flows to down stream countries. Therefore GERD will not only benefit Ethiopians and downstream countries but also it will play a significant role in economic integration of the Nile Basin Countries.

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