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Italian firm signs contract for new Ethiopian dam

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

May 25, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – An Italian giant construction company, Salini Impregilo, announced that it has signed a contract agreement with Ethiopia to build a new hydroelectric power plant worth €2.5 billion.

The client Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) awarded the new power plant project which will be constructed in the country’s south on the lower bank of Gibe River.

The New mega project known as the Koysha dam will have an installed capacity of 2,200 MW.

According to Salini, the project includes a 170 meter high rolled compacted concrete (RCC) dam; the reservoir volume is 6000 million cubic meters will have an annual power generation capacity of 6,460 GWh.

The new contract agreement with the Italian firm comes few months after Ethiopia secured a finance grant from an Italian credit firm that will fund the project.

Sources told Sudan Tribune that an Italian financial firm called Servizi Assicuative del Commerce Estero (SACE) will fund the giant power plant project.

A high-level Ethiopian delegation has previously travelled to Italy to ink the finance deal with Servizi Assicuative del Commerce Estero.

The horn of Africa’s nation is investing billions of dollars by utilizing its rivers in a bid to boost the country’s energy supply.

The country is building a number of hydro-electric power plants including what would be Africa’s largest Dam known as Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) which will have 8.000 MW electric generating capacity.

GERD which is being constructed along the Nile River in the Benshangul Gumz region near the Sudanese border is currently over 50 percent complete.

The Ethiopian government says construction of the massive dam project will transform the country’s vision to become the hub for the renewable energy in Africa.

In a recent parliament session, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, told MPs that the country’s desire to tap several rivers for power generation is part of plan to boost manufacturing and industrialization and transform its agrarian economy.

Salini Impregilo, in a short statement it issued at its website said the new project (Koysha dam) together with GIBE III and GERD (the Grand Renaissance Dam) on the Blue Nile will enable Ethiopia to become Africa’s leader in terms of energy production.

“The Country has been rapidly growing for many years now, and will soon become the driving force of the African continent” it said.

It added that the mega infrastructure projects that have characterized the past few years not only would sustain the country’s growth, but also contribute to achieving the goal of transforming Ethiopia into Africa’s energy hub.

Ethiopia, which hopes to become a middle income nation by 2025, intends to become a leading power exporter in the East African region and beyond.

Currently, Ethiopia exports hydro-power processed electricity to its neighbours: Kenya, Sudan and Djibouti.

(ST)

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