By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
September 3, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, is due to arrive in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday for talks over Ethiopia’s controversial power plant project which the east African nation is building along the Nile River.
Government sources on Wednesday told Sudan Tribune that Shoukry will meet his Ethiopian counterpart, Tedros Adhanom, tomorrow to further discuss on the progress and impacts of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam of which had been a source of dispute between Addis Ababa and Cairo.
High level discussions between the two sides aim to create mutual understanding and trust among upper and lower riparian countries.
Egypt fears that the construction of the 4.3 billion dollar dam project will diminish its water share which is a source of potable water to millions people of the desert nation.
Shoukry and Adhanom will further discuses on the progress attained during the tripartite Nile talks held in Khartoum last week between Ethiopia Sudan and Egypt.
According to Ethiopian officials, the talks in Khartoum are said to have been successful as the trios managed to narrow to most of their differences in this latest round of talks than those meetings held previously.
Following the two day meeting on August 25 and 26, Egypt’s irrigation and water resources minister, Hossam El Moghazy said “Egypt was never and will never be against the development of Nile basin countries”
The International Panel of Experts (IPoE) which had been tasked to study the impact of the dam project, in its final report unveiled that the project will not adversely affect the river’s downstream flow.
The report, on the contrary revealed that the dam instead benefits down stream countries by protecting them from over flooding, reduces sedimentation, enables irrigation expansion, boosts water use efficiency and provides them with cheap and clean energy.
Sudan, has accepted the final findings, Egypt however insisted on further technical assessment on the dam project, which Ethiopia says is safe and never meant to harm lower riparian countries (Egypt and Sudan).
Up on completion by 2017, the Grand Ethiopian renaissance dam will have electricity generating capacity of 6,000 megawatt.
Currently the power plant project which will be Africa’s largest is 36% completed and will take the east African nation up to six years to fill the dam’s 74 billion cubic-metre reservoir.
Ethiopia is executing a number of power mega projects planning to export hydro power processed electricity to neighbouring countries as part of the country’s efforts to alleviate poverty and join middle income countries.
According to researchers, Ethiopia could earn up to 2 million Euros every day from power exports when the current power plant projects get completed.