Monday, September 26, 2011

Ethiopia, Egypt resolve dispute over Nile | African news, analysis and opinion – The Africa

Ethiopia and Egypt have agreed to jointly assess the impact on the environment likely to be made by the construction of Africa’s largest dam over the Nile River.

Map of Ethiopia

Map of Ethiopia

Egypt has opposed the construction of the Great Renaissance Dam by Ethiopia saying it would affect water levels downstream.

But Ethiopian state television (ETV) reported that a deal had been struck during Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s weekend visit to Cairo.

Egypt recently sent a high powered delegation to discuss the project with officials from the Horn of Africa country.

The Ethiopians have maintained that the dam, which will cost US$5 billion will not affect Egypt or Sudan.

The dam is expected to generate around 5,250 megawatts (MW) of electricity when complete.

The authorities expect the first phase of the hydropower station to be complete in two years time.

Meles has repeatedly warned that nothing will stop his country from constructing the dam.

Ethiopia is also constructing other dams along the Nile as part of efforts to become Africa’s major electricity supplier.

The government will construct power stations that would produce 20 000 megawatts of electricity in the next 10 years, which will cost US$10 billion.

It is already selling electricity to Djibouti while exports to Sudan and Kenya are expected to start next year.

Under colonial-era treaties, Egypt is entitled to around 55 billion of the river's 84 billion cubic meters of water and is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its water.

Ethiopia contributes more than 80% of water flowing on the Nile river, and is regarded as the “Mother of Nile River”.

Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia were strained last year after six of the nine Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, signed a deal that stripped Cairo of its veto powers when it came to the Nile River.

Friday, September 23, 2011

South Sudan - Water storage dam to be constructed in Wau

South Sudan - Water storage dam to be constructed in Wau

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation will construct a dam in Wau to store water for deomestic, agriculture and other purposes, Hon Paul Mayom Akec, the minister, has announced.

Hon Mayom said that the dam will preserve water for irrigation to boost food production and reduce the country’s overreliance on food imports. He also explained that the water stored by the dam will provide the means for hydroelectric power generation to be supplied in Wau and to the other states in the south Sudan.

Hon Mayom also called for mutual utilization of the Nile water for the benefit of all. He announced that the ministry will pursue membership in the Nile Basin Authority and get involved in the Nile water agreement.

Hon Mayom (right) addressing the participants of the worshop.

The minister was speaking when he opened a consultative workshop on the feasibility of the Wau Dam. The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of the Republic of South Sudan and the Ministry of Water Resources of Egypt. It drew participants from the two countries and representation from both local and international organizations, and the development partners or agencies.

Onn his part, the Egyptian minister of Water Resources, Husham Mohamad Ghandil conveyed his government’s readiness to cooperate with the government of the Republic of South Sudan in the development of the new nation. He said the provision of clean drinking water, training, hydroelectric power generation, establishment of irrigation in agriculture to improve food productivity, are among their top projects in South Sudan.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Egypt, Ethiopia to review impact of mega dam - International | IOL Business |

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Ethiopians paddle a boat at Blue Nile falls (Tis Abay in Amharic), 30km (19 miles) from Bahir Dar, April 19, 2011.

Egypt and Ethiopia have agreed to set up a technical team to review the impact of a $4.8-billion Nile river dam which Addis Ababa announced in March, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said in Cairo on Saturday.

Egypt has been worried over changes to colonial-era treaties since Nile basin nations, including Ethiopia, signed a deal last year that strips Cairo of the right to the lion's share of the river's waters and effectively removes its veto power over dam projects.

Egypt, witnessing a growing population and rising temperatures, is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its water and has been nervously watching hydropower dam projects take shape in upriver nations.

“We have agreed to quickly establish a tripartite team of technical experts to review the impact of the dam that is being built in Ethiopia,” Zenawi told a news conference with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. Experts from Sudan will also be part of the team.

“We have agreed to continue to work on the basis of a win-win solution for all countries in the Nile basin,” he added.

Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia plunged after the treaty was signed last year by six of the nine countries through which the Nile runs. Ties began to thaw after President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in a popular uprising in February.

Ethiopia in May agreed to delay ratification of the treaty until a new Egyptian government has been elected.

Sharaf said Cairo and Addis Ababa were discussing a “comprehensive development plan” for the two countries.

“We can make the issue of the Grand Renaissance Dam something useful,” he said. “This dam, in conjunction with the other dams, can be a path for development and construction between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.”

Sharaf said Egyptian investment in Ethiopia stands at $2 billion and bilateral trade stands at $300 million a year.

An Egyptian team of 48 politicians and activists visited Addis Ababa last May to try to push for a compromise.

Egyptians are expected to elect a new parliament in November and chose a new president soon after, though no exact date has been set for either poll.

Under a 1929 pact, Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic metres a year of the Nile's flow of around 84 billion cubic metres.

Apart from the Grand Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia has announced plans to construct two more dams along its share of the Nile as part of a plan to produce 20,000 megawatts (MW) of power within the next 10 years. - Reuters

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ethiopia plans to build more Nile dams - The Egyptian Gazette

Ethiopia plans to build more Nile dams
Friday, September 9, 2011 01:40:49 PM

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia has announced plans to construct two dams along its share of the Nile, six months after embarking on a 5,250 MW power plant that rankled Egypt over concerns it might affect the flow of the river.

The Horn of Africa nation aims to produce 20,000 megawatts (MW) of power within the next 10 years, part of a plan to spend $12 billion over 25 years to raise power generating capability.
Officials estimate the hydropower potential of the nation -- blessed with cascading rivers flowing through rugged mountains -- is around 45,000 MW.
"We are embarking on building two additional dams in the Nile Basin, and feasibility tests are under way with support from the Norwegian government," said Mihret Debebe, chief executive of the state-run Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation.
Mihret did not give a time frame for completion of the projects, but added they would generate 2,100 MW upon completion "in the near future."
"We plan to generate 5,000 MW from the Basin during the next five-year period until 2020," he said.
Egypt, solely dependent on Nile waters, has long protested utilisation by upstream nations, and has so far shunned a recent deal that aimed to replace colonial-era treaties that granted it a lion's share of the river's flow.
Ethiopia is constructing its Grand Renaissance Dam from its coffers at a cost of nearly $5 billion. The project is expected to be completed in five years time.
Ethiopia also signed 11 contracts worth around $329 million with several foreign firms late on Wednesday to construct transmission lines for export, rehabilitate existing sub-stations and for management fees.
Among those who signed deals are KEC International , Kalpataru Limited and Gammon from India, Energoinvest from Bosnia-Herzogovina, Italy's JV SAE, CYMI of Spain, French firm Alstom Grid and Germany's ABB.
The amount is mainly funded by the African Development Bank.
The Horn of Africa nation plans to sell power to Sudan, Yemen, Kenya and even Egypt as it ramps up power production to become a major exporter in the continent.
The country has already started transmission of 50 MW to Djibouti, while exports to the eastern Sudanese towns of Gadarif and Gallabat are expected in one or two months.
Plans are under way to export 5 MW to Kenya's northern Moyale town next month, while an agreement has been signed to further connect to Yemen through Djibouti's underwater sea cable, officials say.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Africa’s Friend China Finances $9.3 Billion of Hydropower - Bloomberg

When completed in 2013, Gibe III on Ethiopia’s Omo River will beAfrica’s tallest dam, a $2.2 billion project that conservationists say will deprive birds and hippos of vital habitat.

Some 600 miles (965 kilometers) to the north, Sudan is preparing to build the $705 million Kajbar dam on the Nile, which would inundate historic towns and tombs of the Nubian people, descendants of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The $729 million Bui project on the Black Volta River, to be finished in 2013, will boost Ghana’s hydropower capacity by a third -- and flood a quarter of Bui National Park while displacing 2,600 people.

What these megaprojects have in common is Chinese money and know-how. Companies such as Sinohydro Corp. and Dongfang Electric Corp. are key players in their construction, and they’re financed by Chinese banks with support from the government in Beijing, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Sept. 12 issue.

The country’s engineering and manufacturing giants have recently completed or are participating in at least $9.3 billion of hydropower projects in Zambia, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere on the continent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and International Rivers, a Berkeley, California-based environmental group.

A similar, if smaller, push is happening in newer renewable technologies. Chinese enterprises are now the top investors in African solar power,and China’s government in June earmarked $100 million for solar projects in 40 African nations.

Street Lights, Refugee Camps

Chinese photovoltaic panels already power street lights in Sudan, sit atop schools and hospitals elsewhere and can be found in United Nations-supported refugee camps in the Sahara.

“Renewable energy is merely the latest” facet of China’s move into Africa, says Martyn Davies, chief executive officer of Frontier Advisory, a consultant in Johannesburg working with Chinese companies on the continent. “The traditional actors -- the Germans, the French, the Spanish -- won’t be able to compete on price.”

Overall Sino-African trade reached $127 billion in 2010, up from $10 billion in 2000, Beijing’s commerce ministry reports. In 2009, China unseated the U.S. as Africa’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 14 percent of the continent’s total trade, according to the African Development Bank. The state- owned China Development Bank Corp. in 2007 established a $1 billion fund to finance Chinese enterprises in Africa and now plans to increase that to $5 billion.

Opens New Markets

China’s initiative in renewables will open up new markets for its growing green energy sector. Only Chinese panels will be used in solar projects the country backs, says Sun Guangbin, secretary-general of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.

“China needs new emerging markets to consume solar products,” Sun says.

China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. is supplying panels for a 50-megawatt solar plant at Droogfontein, South Africa. China Longyuan Power Group last year said it would open wind farms in South Africa, and Hua Lien International Holding has established ethanol joint ventures in Benin, Sierra Leone, and Mozambique.

Sub-Saharan Africa, with some 800 million residents, generates about the same amount of power as Spain, population 46 million, according to the World Bank. The bank says that since 1995, Africa’s power sector has grown an average of 1 percent annually, or less than 1,000 megawatts a year, even though capacity needs to expand more than 10 percent a year to meet demand.

Few Strings Attached?

One attraction for African governments is that Chinese investment comes with few strings attached, researchers and conservationists say. China doesn’t tie its aid to human-rights progress, environmental issues, or democratic governance, as the U.S. and Europe do.

“Many African countries find that very acceptable,” says John Mitchell, an associate fellow at Chatham House, a foreign affairs research group in London.

Due to human-rights concerns, Sudan had trouble raising money for its $1.8 billion Merowe Dam until Chinese banks came up with funding, International Rivers says. The project was finished two years ago.

Chinese investment is helping Africa reach levels of dam- building not seen in years, bringing back memories of hydropower campaigns that conservationists deem a disaster.

‘Very Sobering’

“The social, environmental, and economic track record of large dam projects in Africa is very sobering,” says International Rivers Policy Director Peter Bosshard. While Chinese companies have improved their environmental record in the past few years, “there also continue to be big gaps,” Bosshard says.

Advocates say hydropower can help make up Africa’s chronic power deficit. Gibe III, for instance, will double Ethiopia’s power generation capacity. That, says Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, will be instrumental in fighting poverty in a country nicknamed “Africa’s water tower” for the rivers coursing out of its highlands.

Dams can help Ethiopia electrify remote villages, increase irrigation and earn money from electricity exports, Meles said at an Addis Ababa news conference in March.

“Hydropower,” he said, “will have to be at the center of Africa’s energy future.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Randall Hackley in Zurich at rhackley@bloomberg.netLauren van der Westhuizen in Cape Town at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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