Ethiopia says it has attained its second-year target for filling a mega-dam on the Blue Nile River that has fueled tensions with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been at the centre of a regional dispute ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the project in 2011.
Egypt views the project as a grave threat to its Nile water supplies, on which it is almost entirely dependent. Sudan has also expressed concern about the dam’s safety and the effect on its own dams and water stations.
But Ethiopians, the dam is indeed a milestone and a project of national pride. Many Ethiopians are reported to have financially supported the dam through the buying of government bonds.
Both countries have called for a binding legal arrangement before dam operations begin, but attempts at mediation have failed.
Set to be Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam and more than doubling Ethiopia’s electricity output, the $4.2 billion dam is expected to produce more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity.
Ethiopia had initially planned output of around 6,500 megawatts but later reduced its target.