November 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The water ministers of Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia held a meeting in Khartoum on Monday to discuss the joint mechanism for implementing the recommendations of the International Panel of Experts (IPoE) regarding the Grand Renaissance Dam.
- Planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project (file/AP)
The IPoE is composed of six representatives each drawn from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, and another four international experts and was established to assess the impact of the dam project on downstream countries.
The report which was submitted by IPoE to the three countries last June is believed to show that the $4.7 billion dam will not have any major effect on lower riparian countries of Egypt and Sudan. However Egypt assert that the deficiencies mentioned by the report need to be addressed before carrying on with the dam project.
Ethiopia’s minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy, Alamayo Tegno, stressed his country’s determination to build the dam in order to meet national development objectives and sustain regional cooperation between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, saying that his government undertook the necessary procedures and precautions for building the dam.
Tegno said in his address before the opening session of the meeting that the objective of the summit is to draw a roadmap for following up on the recommendations of the IPoE.
Sudan’s minister of Electricity and Dams Osama Abdallah, expressed hope that the meeting arrives at recommendations which would enhance joint cooperation among the three countries and pointed that his government is committed to the IPoE findings, saying that the project opens new horizons for cooperation.
Egypt’s minister of Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel-Motalib, said that it is high time for developing a new strategy which secures the best results for the future generations and said that the meeting represents a pivotal point for the three countries to complete the work which has begun two years ago.
He called for the implementation of the accords reached by the foreign ministers in order to arrive at an agreement on the political level besides the technical ones which he said need more rationing.
When the dam project - which will have power generation capacity of 6,000 MW - goes operational, the horn of Africa’s nation projects it will generate up to 2 million Euros per day from exporting hydro-electricity.
Although Ethiopia is a source to 85% of the Nile’s water resources, a colonial era treaty, however, has allowed Egypt to utilize the lion’s share of the water resources.
The treaty effectively granted the North African nation a veto power against any dam project along the Nile River in upper riparian countries.
Sudan however, has expressed support to Ethiopia’s dam project putting it at odds with Cairo.