Ethiopia wants to cooperate with Egypt and Sudan regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced yesterday.
Ahmed told parliament that Addis Ababa must not be the “only country that encourages the implementation of the Cooperative Framework Agreement – Nile Basin Initiative,” calling on Cairo and Khartoum “to join forces.”
“We want to cooperate with Egypt and Sudan on the dam issue,” Ahmed reiterated, stressing that clean water from the Blue Nile in Ethiopia is “available to all countries.”
Ethiopia is building a $5 billion dam near the border with Sudan it says will provide the country with much-needed electricity and economic regeneration. Egypt believes it will restrict its access to Nile waters.
Egypt is almost entirely dependent on Nile water, receiving around 55.5 million cubic metres a year from the river, and believes that filling the dam will affect the water it needs for drinking, agriculture and electricity.
Cairo wants Ethiopia to guarantee Egypt will receive 40 billion cubic metres or more of water from the Nile. Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele said Egypt has abandoned this demand, but Egypt insists it hasn’t and issued a statement to this effect.
There is also an unresolved issue over how fast the dam will be filled, with Egypt fearing if it is filled too quickly, it could affect the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam.
In July, Ethiopia informed downstream countries Egypt and Sudan that it had started the second phase of filling the dam’s reservoir in an effort to take advantage of the rainy season. Egypt responded saying: “Addis Ababa is violating international laws and norms, and is treating the River Nile as its own property.”
Ethiopia began producing electricity from the dam on Sunday.