Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ethiopian Opposition Questions Construction of “Renaissance Dam

Ethiopian Opposition Questions Construction of �Renaissance Dam


By Staff Reporters

April 26, 2011 (Ezega.com) -- The Ethiopian Federal Democratic Forum,
commonly known as Medrek, fears foreign aggression against the country
due to the construction of �Renaissance Dam", as the government calls
it. Medrek released an official statement questioning the government
about its preparedness to face any foreign aggression against the dam,
saying that hydro-politics is often a source of mounting conflicts in
the 21st century.

Medrek, which was the main opposition party before the recent
elections, asked the Ethiopian Government if it had taken Nile Basin
members into confidence about the construction of the dam. Raising
doubts about corruption, it also asked the government whether it had
prepared a mechanism to ensure that the public money was directed
toward the targeted project and that there was no frittering away of
the taxpayers� money by corrupt officials.

Medrek also called for reaching a national consensus on the
construction of the dam in Benishangul region, which will likely
generate 5,250-MW power. The government recently announced its
willingness to go ahead with the construction of the dam, which would
cost 80 billion birr, to exploit the abundant resources of energy in
the country. The government has rejected �unsubstantiated� claims as
they call it that the dam would cause significant harm to downstream
countries. It has assured Ethiopians that Egypt cannot do any harm to
the project, though Cairo has been successful in lobbying global
financial institutions from financing the project.

Touted to be the biggest hydropower plant in Africa, it is expected to
be completed in four years. Ethiopia is said to have over 45,000-MW
potential of hydropower. The Ethiopian Government will finance a major
chunk of the project. It also seeks remittances from overseas
Ethiopians under the GTP project. Further, the government has started
issuing Millennium Bond, giving five percent interest rate, to finance
the project.

The government of Prime Minister Meles has also declared that the dam,
which is at a low level, would do no harm to the Nile riparian states,
but rather, generate hydropower to meet the energy needs of these
countries. It further claims that the dam would prevent flooding and
siltation, which would actually help increase the flow of water in
rivers and their tributaries.

The Ethiopian Government terms Egypt an �obstacle� to its development.

The British Embassy in Ethiopia lauds Addis Ababa�s commitment to the
GTP and its proposal of constructing Renaissance Dam, saying that it
should do more to meet its energy demands by exploiting its huge
hydropower potential and building more dams. British Ambassado Norman
Ling agreed that the Nile waters should be equally apportioned among
its basin countries, facing energy crunch. He also intimated his
country�s promise to help Ethiopia�s development efforts, saying that
the United Kingdom might increase the development aid to Addis Ababa.

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