Africa: Resumption of Negotiations on Ethiopia’s Mega-Dam Raises Concerns for Egypt

Africa: Resumption Of Negotiations On Ethiopia's Mega-dam Raises Concerns For Egypt

Egypt announced on August 27, 2023 that it has resumed negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan on the Ethiopian Renaissance mega-dam project on the Nile. This hydroelectric power plant is considered vital by Addis Ababa but is perceived as a threat by Cairo and Khartoum.

Negotiations resumed on August 27, 2023 in Cairo between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan regarding the filling and implementation of the Renaissance mega-dam. Located in Ethiopia, upstream of one of the main sources of the Nile, it has raised strong concerns among downstream countries, especially Egyptian authorities.

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Ethiopia assures that it will use the Nile in a fair and reasonable manner and has expressed its intention to find a solution through negotiations. However, it unilaterally began the fourth and final phase of dam filling last month, which angered Egypt. The country is deeply concerned about its freshwater supply, which depends on Ethiopia’s Nile source for 75% of its water.

Cairo has repeatedly threatened to use military force.

Egypt has repeatedly called for the cessation of reservoir filling, at least until an agreement is reached on water flow regulation and dam operation. However, Ethiopian authorities have consistently rejected these requests. In response, Cairo has threatened to use military force multiple times due to this violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by both countries.

The negotiations have now been ongoing for twelve years, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is set to become the most powerful hydroelectric power plant in Africa. In Ethiopia, this colossal project is a national pride funded by public funds with a total estimated cost of 4.2 billion euros. The dam is expected to double the country’s electricity production, which is crucial for its development.

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