The Nile River, which is of critical importance to millions of people living in the riparian countries, has not been utilized equitably and reasonably among the Nile Basin nations for long.
Ethiopia, though contributes 85 percent of the water to the river, it was denied the possibility of developing and utilizing its own water resources while Egypt has turned deserts into productive farmlands; and transform the Sahara Desert into something green by making use of the water.
Ethiopia, where most of the water is originated, was even left aside from water treaties made decades ago. But now after eleven years of sacrifice, the dream and aspiration of Ethiopians has turned into reality. Thanks to the successive leadership and commitment of the people of Ethiopia, Abay River has surrendered to Ethiopians.
The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has opened a new chapter for Ethiopians who have been waiting eagerly for this day; as well as the riparian countries, including Egypt and Sudan. Recently it was announced that, GERD has already commenced generating power with one of the 13 turbines. “The first turbine of Africa’s largest power plant has started generating power.
This is good news for our continent as well as the downstream countries which we aspire to work and develop together. Our River, Abay, has continued its journey to develop our country and our neighbors.
Today is the dawn of light for Ethiopia and congratulations for all of us, Ethiopians,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed twitted following the commencement of the first electricity production. For Ethiopia, starting generating electricity from the GERD, withstanding the challenges and noticeable unwarranted interferences is a great success. The long journey of diplomacy was heavy.
Egypt and Sudan have been attempting to trap Ethiopia through devising binding treaties and their covert approaches that undermine the development of Ethiopia, said Ambassador Ibrahim Indris, Advisor to the Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Boundary and Trans-boundary Affairs, Approached by reporters of The Ethiopian Press Agency, Ambassador Ibrahim said that, over the past ten years Ethiopia has made untiring struggles with allies of Egypt and Sudan over the Renaissance Dam.
Especially, the negotiations made with the two countries were very demanding and trying. Even though, Sudan and Egypt attempted to trap Ethiopia through devising binding agreements though they could not succeeded in it because there has been strong public
support; and huge diplomacy works have been done from the beginning of the negotiations. “The success we have gained now is not achieved simply and the road was not smooth. Rather, we have gone through a number of ups and downs. There were times that Egypt and Sudan have tried their level best to kneel down Ethiopia through letting the international community stand by their sides. First, they attempted to stop the construction of the Dam.
Then, they were raising different contradictory ideas in all discussion and dialogue platforms. Luckily, thrashing all hindrances and winning the conspiracies, the Dam has now started generating electricity.
This is a striking victory for Ethiopia”, he said. As to the Ambassador, starting from the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, Egypt and Sudan have been conspiring not to let Ethiopia build the Dam on Abay River; and the success they had satisfied with their campaign was barring Ethiopia from getting foreign loan and aid. However, by no means they could realize their target of hindering the construction of the Dam.
The inauguration of Dam’s power generation is a good indication to this. The reason the Dam has reached to its current state is the unwavering support of the people of Ethiopia, the Diaspora community, and negotiators’ unreserved effort and cooperation.
It also ensures as it is unacceptable for Sudan and Egypt to utilize the River while Ethiopians are prevented from developing their own natural resources. While the resource is a blessing for all, the arguments that the two countries are presenting is to maintain the historical precedent of the water. There is no way that only the two can use the water while Ethiopia, which generates 85 percent of the water is not benefited.
Mentioning that they had been working for the last 20 years untiringly to bridge gaps between the people and the government, Ambassador Ibrahim said that however, at present the people have stood together under a motto of “The Dam is mine”, and this has put a pressure on them. The propaganda and white lies they are disseminating at present with regard to Dam’s power generation is an unacceptable.
“Ethiopia has started generating power in accordance with the law and the agreement,” Ambassador Ibrahim underscored. “When I heard the news that the Renaissance Dam has started generating electricity, I wept with happiness,” said Assistant Professor Adam Kamil.
Countries that do not want to see prosperous Ethiopia have been conspiring to prevent Ethiopia from damming the river and have also been working to cripple the construction process. “However, when I heard the good news, I wept happily.” Following Ethiopia’s success, South Sudanese prominent economist and activist, Dr. Peter Biar Ajak, said that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will serve as a powerful symbol of African awakening and empowerment project.
The 4.2 billion USD project is expected to produce more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity, more than doubting Ethiopia’s electricity output. “Aside from the fact that, it will accelerate Ethiopia’s pact of industrialization with positive externalities for the region, the GERD serve as a powerful of African awakening and empowerment,” As FBC reported mentioning Biar’s statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday. Biar said the opening of multi-billion-dollar project shows the determination of people of Ethiopia that what they have put in their minds cannot be thwarted by adverse forces.
“Funded entirely by Ethiopian and their compatriots in the Diaspora, it shows determination of people to achieve what they have put their minds cannot be thwarted by adverse forces, however strong those forces are,” Biar said.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME
The 24 February 2022