Last Update 20:45
Sunday, 17 November 2019

Timeline: The GERD crisis

A chronology of key dates in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crises between Egypt and Ethiopia

Sama Osama , Tuesday 8 Oct 2019
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. Picture taken September 26, 2019. (Reuters)
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Views: 8384

2010 - Ethiopia announces plans to build a dam on the Blue Nile River and Egypt seeks support from Sudan, the UN and the AU


- Ethiopia announced it would construct a multi-billion-dollar dam, the Grand Millennium Dam on the Blue Nile River. The dam could supply Ethiopia and its neighbours with more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity.

- Former minister of water resources and irrigation Mohamed Nasreldin Allam said he signed an agreement with Sudan to preserve the historical rights of the two countries in the Nile water.


- Egypt raised the issue to the United Nations and the African Union.


- Ethiopia announced the dam designs were finished.

2011 - Ethiopia lays the cornerstone for the new dam, and offers to share construction schemes with Egypt


Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his regime were overthrown following the 25 January Revolution. Power was turned over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headed by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.


- Ethiopia signed a $4.8 billion contract with the Italian company Salini Impregilo S.p.A. to build an enlarged version of the Grand Millennium Dam called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

- Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi laid the cornerstone for the new dam in a public ceremony.


- Ethiopia offered to share the dam schemes with Egypt so that the latter could study how the dam would affect it.


- The first meeting of the tripartite technical committee including the water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia was held after a proposal from Ethiopia’s prime minister.

2012 - Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi visits Ethiopia


- Mohamed Morsi was sworn in as the president of Egypt.


- Morsi went on a two-day visit to Ethiopia to discuss African cooperation and the GERD. Mubarak never visited Ethiopia after the 1995 assassination attempt by Islamist extremists in Addis Ababa.

2013 - Ethiopia diverts the Nile to build the GERD and Egypt decides to negotiate


- According to a statement by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir told the Ethiopian ambassador to Sudan that his country supported the GERD project.


- Morsi and Al-Bashir met to affirm their alliance in the face of challenges posed by the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), also known as the Entebbe Agreement, signed by Nile Basin countries.


- Ethiopia began diverting the flow of the Nile to build the GERD.


- Morsi and his regime were overthrown. Adli Mansour, former chief justice of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, served as acting president of Egypt.


- Negotiations resumed between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

2014 - Malabo Declaration and selecting a committee of experts

Ethiopia announced that 32 percent of the GERD's construction had been completed.


- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was sworn into office.

- President El-Sisi met with the Ethiopian prime minister and issued the Malabo Declaration on 28 June 2014 in the form of a joint statement guaranteeing that Ethiopia can develop the dam while diminishing possible damages affecting Egypt.


-The fourth meeting at the level of irrigation ministers in Khartoum after eight months of interruption was held. They agreed on implementing the recommendations of the International Committee of Experts on the GERD.

-The parties also signed a final statement agreeing on the formation of the quartet committee of experts from the three countries in addition to an international consulting company to conduct the two additional studies on the dam. They also approved the selection of international experts to resolve any disputes.


- Selection rules of the consultants' offices for technical studies were announced, and seven international consulting companies were agreed upon.

2015 - Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan sign the Declaration of Principles on the Renaissance Dam, Khartoum Document


- Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed the Declaration of Principles on the Renaissance Dam, which included 10 basic principles.


- The seventh round of technical committee meetings held in Khartoum issued a statement comprising the rules and frameworks of the work of two international consultants’ offices in carrying out the required studies on the GERD.


-Egypt rejected the implementation of the technical studies of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam at the ninth round of talks in Cairo because they were done by one company while two companies were chosen previously to do the studies.


-The three parties signed the Khartoum document, a legal document that aimed to resolve differences between the three countries about the GERD. They also reached an agreement on the consultancy firms French Artelia and BRL groups to conduct technical impact studies on the GERD.

2016 - Technical Meetings


- Ethiopia rejected the Egyptian proposal to increase the water holes in the Renaissance Dam from two to four, saying that the dam doesn’t need to be redesigned to increase the holes.

- Sudan said it was satisfied with the design of the dam regardless Egypt’s proposal.


- Meeting of the Tripartite National Committee.


- Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have signed the final contracts for the long-awaited technical studies on the impact on downstream countries of a giant dam that Addis Ababa is building

2017 - Negotiations fail


- The tripartite technical committee meeting on the Renaissance Dam at the ministerial level, held on 11-12 November in Cairo, fail to reach an agreement on the adoption of an introductory report on technical studies of the GERD.

- Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati expressed Egypt's concern over the future of talks with Sudan and Ethiopia.

- El-Sisi said Egypt considers the Nile water a matter of life or death.

2018 - Sisi and Abiy Ahmed agree on resuming cooperation efforts


- Egypt proposed the participation of the World Bank as a technical party with an impartial view to decide on the differences in the work of the Tripartite National Committee. However, Ethiopia rejected Egypt's request.

- Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry announced that an agreement has been reached, during the tripartite summit between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, on ending the technical studies of the Grand Renaissance Dam within a month, and stressed on Egypt’s commitment to the Declaration of Principles.


President El-Sisi said he agreed with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed to enhance confidence and cooperation between the two countries, and that the two countries would try to reach a final agreement on the GERD that would ensure development and prosperity to the Ethiopian people and at the same time doesn’t undermine Egypt’s water needs and rights.

2019 - Negotiations stumble and resume, Egypt and Ethiopia’s leaders address the issue at the 74th UNGA


Shoukri called for negotiations on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to speed up and demanded accords reached between the three countries be respected.


- New round of negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the filling of the GERD reservoir and its rules of operation was launched in Cairo, at the request of Egypt, after months of suspension.

The negotiations failed after Ethiopia rejected Egypt's proposal, saying that it puts its sovereignty in question.

- At the UNGA’s 74th session on 24 September, Egypt President Sisi and his Ethiopian counterpart Sahle-Work Zewde addressed the GERD problem.

El-Sisi called for an international intervention in the GERD negotiations, and emphasised that “Nile water is a matter of life and an issue of existence for Egypt."

Zewde assured her country ‘s commitment to reaching a deal over GERD.


- A tripartite technical committee wrapped up four-day talks on the GERD in Khartoum, and presented their report on the outcomes of the talks to the three countries’ irrigation ministers.

- A new round of meetings of the irrigation and water resources ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia kicked off in Khartoum.

- The spokesperson of the Ministry of Water Recourses and Irrigation stated that negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has reached a dead end due to the “intransigency” of the Ethiopian side.

- The United States called on the three sides to “put forth good faith efforts to reach an agreement that preserves those rights, while simultaneously respecting each other’s Nile water equities.”

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