Egypt's irrigation minister Hossam Moghazy (Al-Ahram)
Egypt's Minister of Irrigation, Hossam Moghazi, said on Tuesday that at the next meeting of the technical committee on Ethiopia's Renaissance dam, contracts with two consulting firms to carry out impact studies of the dam will be signed.
The eighth meeting of the tripartite committee, which includes representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, is scheduled for 20 August, Moghazi said.
The three countries have agreed to give 70 percent of the research workload to a French consultancy firm and the other 30 percent to a Dutch firm, the minister said during comments at a press conference.
He also said that each country will meet on its own to discuss the findings of the firms on 12 August. Afterwards, tripartite meetings will take place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
During the press conference, Moghazi also announced that the three countries have agreed on the methodologies of the studies that will be conducted to determine the impact of the Renaissance dam on downstream countries.
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have also discussed a roadmap for the future of the dam. He stressed that officials of the three countries have reached an accord in many controversial issues concerning the technical studies of the dam without giving any details.
The study conducted by the two European consultancy firms will determine the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the construction of the dam.
In March, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam, agreeing to safeguard the interests of all three countries.
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who hailed the declaration as a "positive step," visited Ethiopia in the same month and addressed the country's parliament, calling for a new era of cooperation.
The Renaissance dam, formerly known as the Millennium dam, is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River.
The dam, scheduled to be completed in 2017, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic meters of water.