ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia announced the successful completion of the third filling of its mega-dam on the Blue Nile.
“It is with great pleasure, I announce the successful completion of the third filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday during a program at the dam site. The announcement came a day after the East African nation launched electricity generation from the second turbine of the mega-dam. According to the prime minister, the dam will create an enabling situation to facilitate integration among neighboring countries as Ethiopia starts selling power to them from the mega-dam. Highlighting the Abay River (Blue Nile) is a gift for Ethiopia, Sudan and Ethiopia, the prime minister called for wise utilization of the resource, cooperation and unity among the three countries for the best benefit of their peoples and other neighboring nations.
The construction of the 5,150-MW hydroelectric dam, which will be regarded as Africa’s largest dam upon completion with a total volume of 74,000 billion cubic meters, started in April 2011 on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State in proximity to the Ethiopia-Sudan border. However, the project has been a major issue of dispute since then among the three Nile-bounded countries of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan. Despite countless tripartite negotiations among experts, ministers and leaders of the three African countries, they are yet to reach a trilateral agreement regarding the project. Ethiopia reiterates that the dam will boost its development aspirations to attain middle-income developing country status by 2025. Meanwhile, Egypt and Sudan frequently express their concern that the dam would affect their share of the river waters. Rising from Lake Tana some 570 km north of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the Blue Nile or Abay River is one of the two principal headwaters of the Nile.