Home | News    Wednesday 15 April 2009

Ethiopia PM plays down calls for halt on Gibe dam construction

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April 14, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi on Monday rejected calls from ‘Concerned’ groups demanding on Ethiopia to halt the ongoing construction of the Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric dam, claiming the project threatens the survival of Africa’s lake Turkana, the largest permanent desert lake in the world.

Following the start of Gibe III construction in 2004, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), Environmentalists, friends of lake Turkana and also ecologists from Kenya have accused Ethiopia of launching the Hp project without taking an environmental and social impact assessment (EIA) saying it violates laws of environmental protection.

But Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi in a press conference on Monday played down those accusations and also some fears from concerned citizens who believe the project could in future lead to conflict with neighboring Kenya.

"Ethiopia had thoroughly done environmental and social impact assessment (EIA) along with the Africa development Bank, the financier of the project and by independent financiers" Meles said.

He added "unlike the claims from the so called ‘concerned NGOs’ the government of Ethiopia from the start has designed the project with much care for its social and environmental impact for its economic feasibility."

Meles pointed out that the project was launched in full understanding and agreement with the neighboring Kenya. He further disclosed that Nairobi financially part of the project.

"Kenya will be the primary beneficiary from the project gaining power export on considerable less expense."

"The project can’t be a source of conflict with Kenya" "why would it be while the Kenyans are in favor of the project and after also they put a big amount of money to the project?" Meles under scored.

In response to concerns saying the project poses threat to Lake Turkana’s survival the premier said that Gibe III project is not an irrigation project that consumes huge amount of water to endanger the survival of Lake Turkana.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has also said the nation would further intensify the development strategy that is designed to ensure carbon neutral development or green development.

Ethiopia’s electricity generation strategy was not only environmentally friendly viewed from the point of view of Ethiopia but also viewed from the horn of African perspective, he said. "This is because we expect to export electricity from renewable source to the countries which do not have the resource such as Kenya Djibouti and Sudan."

Gibe III dam located some 300 km south west of the capital is under construction by an Italian contractor Salini construttari in an estimated contract deal of 1.7 billion US dollar.

Gibe III is the third in a series of hydroelectric projects in the region being constructed to generate power from the Omo River, 80% supplier to Lake Turkana.

Upon completion Gibe III will produce 1800MWof energy a year which will enable the nation to export power to Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya, Yemen, Uganda and Egypt.

(ST)

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  • 15 April 2009 17:10, by Mr. Moto Moto

    I hope GoSS leaders will emulate the Ethiopian PM and get serious with securing a permanent source of electricity for south Sudan by doing the same on the Nile. Who cares about Lake Turkana, everybody these days take care of their own. The current diesel powered generators given by Egypt to GoSS is nothing sort of bribery. I hope the leadership will save us the embarrassment of going to ask for power from Ethiopia in few years.

    repondre message

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