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Ethiopia announces it will start generating electricity through GERD

Ethiopia has announced that it will commence on an electricity production trial for the first time since the inception of GERD.

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In a news published by the Ethiopia-based FANA media outlet, it was announced that the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be conducting electricity generation for the first time during the rainy season that started in June.

It is stated in FANA’s report that an approximately 650-kilometer electricity transmission line has been completed around the dam. The first filling of the GERD project, which has been completed about 80% to date and requires 74 million cubic meters of water capacity, was realized in July 2020. It has been stated that approximately 13.5 billion cubic meters of water will be retained in the second filling phase of the dam this year.

The GERD project is located in a region close to the border of Sudan and Ethiopia and is located upstream of the Blue Nile branch, which provides approximately 80% of the water flow of the River Nile.

With this project, Ethiopia aims to be an energy exporter country by meeting most of its electricity needs through the dam’s hydroelectric capabilities. However, sub-basin countries Egypt and Sudan argue that a tripartite comprehensive and legally binding agreement should be reached on equal sharing of the water flow of the river and the operation of the project.

As a matter of fact, no results have been obtained from the negotiations on the settlement of the disputes between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan that have lasted for about 10 years.

Since late-2020, the GERD negotiations have been conducted under the roof of the African Union, having previously been mediated between the US and the World Bank. Under the African Union, the three parties to the dispute have participated in three summits: the latest of which was held in Kinshasa in March 2021.

Following the failure of the negotiations for the third time, Egypt and Sudan have undertaken attempts at internationalizing the GERD issue by proposing the inclusion of a quartet mediation group including the African Union, the UN, the US, and the EU. The proposal is rejected by Ethiopia.

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