New Talks Fail to Solve Dispute over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

In Addis Ababa, a major meeting on the future of Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam— (GERD)—has ended without agreement.

This is the fourth meeting in the latest efforts by water ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to find a resolution to the tensions over the project.

The dam is under-construction on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile, a main tributary of the Nile, which provides more than 90 percent of Egypt’s fresh water.

The major sticking point is how quickly the dam should be filled. Ethiopia wants to fill this reservoir over a period of four to seven years as it plans to start generating power by the end of this year. Egypt insists the pace should be slower to prevent water shortages.

According to Ethiopian Minister Seleshi, Egypt has submitted a new proposal for filling up to a period of up to 21 years, which he says is unacceptable.

On completion, the Grand Renaissance Dam is expected to generate more than 6,000 megawatts of electric power for Ethiopia, where currently 65% of its population is not connected to the grid.

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan plan to meet in Washington, DC, next week to try and finalize an agreement to resolve their dispute.

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