Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to finalize Blue Nile dam agreement this month

MINISTERS from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are set to reconvene in Washington later this month to finalize an agreement on a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that sparked a diplomatic crisis between Cairo and Addis Ababa.
The ministers met in Washington this week and agreed to fill the 4 billion dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in stages during the wet season, taking into account the impact on downstream reservoirs.
Initial filling of the dam set for July this year will target a level of 595 meters above sea level and early electricity generation while providing appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan during a severe drought.
In a joint statement the ministers said that they will hold technical and legal talks ahead of their January 28-29 meeting in Washington, where they plan to finalise the agreement.
Cairo fears the dam, under construction on the Blue Nile near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, will restrict supplies of already scarce Nile waters on which its population of more than 100 million people is almost entirely dependent.
Addis Ababa denies the dam will undermine Egypt’s access to water and says the project is crucial to its economic development, as it aims to become Africa’s biggest power exporter with a projected capacity of more than 6 000 megawatts.