Egypt is edging forward to create an African lobby in a bid to defend its position with regards Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, the New Khaleej reported.
Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk stated that the African lobby will work with an alliance of African countries and will be tasked with monitoring the crisis caused by the Ethiopian water projects.
“The construction work will not stop at the dam for one minute, and this is our country’s consistent position, as it is a basic right for Ethiopia to make use of its water resources to produce energy for development and poverty eradication,” Ethiopia’s Minister of Irrigation said.
Egyptian water experts claim that the dam will harm Cairo’s access to 55.5 billion cubic metres of Nile water. Ethiopia has stated that the dam will be a positive construction assisting in electricity generation and will not harm countries like Sudan and Egypt.
The President of the Arab Water Council, Mahmoud Abu Zeid, claimed that Ethiopia constructed the dam project without consulting the surrounding countries, contrary to international norms governing the law of the sea.
Construction of the dam began in 2011. It is located 15 kilometres east of the Ethiopia-Sudan border. The dam has been the centre of a row between Egypt and Ethiopia with Cairo accusing Addis Ababa of endangering its supply of Nile water by building the huge reservoir in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region, near the Sudanese border.
The dam is expected to have a reservoir of about 70 billion cubic metres (about 240 billion cubic feet) which Ethiopia hopes will solve the country’s power shortage problems. When built, it will become Africa’s biggest hydro-electric power station, producing up to 6,000 megawatts of electricity – at a cost of $4.2 billion.