Cairo worried rate of Renaissance Dam construction too quick to execute recommendations

Ahram Online , Monday 9 Nov 2015

Egypt has repeatedly raised concerns that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam will negatively affect its Nile water share

A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt expressed worries on Sunday that the construction rate of Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam is too quick to carry out any future recommendations of the tripartite committee, state news agency MENA reported.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam, whose construction is said to be at least 40 percent complete and is set to finish in 2017, would negatively affect its Nile water share.

In March 2015, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam, agreeing to safeguard the interests of all three countries. Two foreign consultancy firms, Dutch and French, have been chosen to carry out reports assessing the dam's negative effects on Egypt and Sudan, if any.

Cairo's Sunday woes come on the closing of a ninth round of talks on a ministerial level in Cairo between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

Talks are currently at a stalemate since last September when the Dutch consultancy firm Deltares withdrew from the assessment of the dam, saying that the conditions imposed by the tripartite national committee -- which includes representatives from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, as well as the French consultancy firm BRL -- did not provide sufficient guarantees to Deltares that an independent high-quality study could be carried out.

A tenth round of talks is scheduled to take place from 21-23 November in Khartoum.

Egypt's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hossam Moghazi told MENA on Sunday that the upcoming round of talks will attempt to solve differences between the two consulting firms.

Moghazi said that Egypt is keen to have both consulting firms assess the dam to "guarantee a higher rate of objectivity and integrity, and also adhere to professional standards."

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.

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