Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ethiopia slams anti-dam group's Water International as Egypt 'proxy campaign' | North Africa

File Photo©ReutersEthiopia has slammed a statement by a United States based group, International Rivers Network (IRN) that is campaigning against the construction of the country's biggest dam project in history saying it is fighting a proxy war for Egypt.

In a statement released on March 31 the group called for the construction of the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to stop immediately citing a number of reasons.
We have received not one dollar from individuals residing in Egypt in the past seven years - IRN
The report cited "a leaked report" of the International Panel of Experts or IPoE, which reviewed the impact of the 6000 MW hydroelectric dam.
The multibillion-dollar dam is 30 percent complete and Ethiopian officials are insisting that they would finish it on time, despite the efforts of international campaigners such as IRN to halt the project.
IRN is "subverting Ethiopia's efforts to develop its water resources and lift its vast and growing population out of poverty," Ethiopia's National Panel of Experts said.
"Again, the IRN never loses opportunity to lobby for its Egyptian paymasters.
"Not only does the IRN talk about the 'oversize' of GERD, but also about the Egyptians' negative emotions over GERD: anger and fear."
The panel said it was strongly dismissing the group's "anti-Ethiopia lobbying which is driven by an ideological, if not fanatical-messianic mission".
"We condemn IRN's unfair and biased support for Egypt in its disagreements with Ethiopia contrary to its own mission statement.
"We categorically reject IRN's advice to Ethiopia to accept its proposal and halt construction of GERD," the panel said in a statement posted on Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website over the weekend.
However, IRN has denied receiving any funding from Egypt in a letter emailed to The Africa Report.
"We have received not one dollar from individuals residing in Egypt in the past seven years" said IRN.
The Ethiopian government's Growth and Transformation Plan (2010-2015) emphasises accelerated industrialisation through the development of massive infrastructure projects, especially in energy.
The east African country has embarked on a multi-billion dollar energy sector development programme to become one of Africa's major exporters of electricity.
Other than the $9 billion hydro-electric energy programme, expected to supply neighbouring countries with electricity, Ethiopia has also seen heavy investments in geothermal, wind and other renewal energy infrastructural development projects.
This piece has been edited from its original version, to include comment from IRN

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