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Egypt can get electricity from Ethiopia with dam completion: Ethiopian minister

The Renaissance Dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government since images of the project's construction stirred public anxiety about its possible effects on Egypt's share of Nile water

MENA, Ahram Online, Tuesday 29 Apr 2014
Grand Renaissance dam
A machine digs a ditch at the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 6824

The Ethiopian foreign minister, speaking Tuesday at a forum addressing his country's Nile water rights, asserted that the benefits of the Renaissance Dam will extend to Egypt's ability to obtain electricity from Ethiopia, state news agency MENA reported.

Egypt has been suffering from electricity shortages which have resulted in increasingly recurrent power cuts nationwide, even in winter months. 

In a two-day forum held at Bahir Dar University and attended by intellectuals and politicians, Ethiopian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Berhane Gebre-Christos asserted that the dam is not being constructed for irrigation or farming, but for generating electricity. 

"The water will pass through turbines to conduct electricity, and then continue its flow," the minister said, adding that Egypt will not be harmed by the dam, "on the contrary, [Egyptians] can get electricity from Ethiopia after the dam's construction is complete." 

The Egyptian government had announced early April it planned to boost the country's supply of electricity by importing natural gas and diesel in the short term and begin construction on three new power plants. 

The Renaissance Dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government since May last year, when images of its advancing construction stirred public anxiety about the project's consequences on Egypt's share of Nile water.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had formed a tripartite technical committee in 2011 to study the possible effects of the dam and attempt to reach consensus on the project. It proceeded to solicit the opinion of international experts on the effects of the dam on Egypt's and Sudan's water supply.

The tripartite committee's efforts were thwarted in December 2013, when Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir announced his support of the Renaissance Dam during a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

President Al-Bashir is among the attendees of the two-day forum currently being held. 

No immediate information was available on whether the event included any Egyptian attendees.

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