Ethiopia said on Thursday that construction of the controversial Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is 90 percent complete.
The announcement was made by the National Office for the Coordination of Dam Construction to mark the 12th anniversary of the dam’s groundbreaking.
The Addis Ababa announcement comes just days after Egypt issued a fresh warning to Ethiopia over the multi-billion dollar mega-dam project that will be the largest in Africa when completed.
Cairo said “all options are on the table” to deal with any threats to its water supply from Ethiopia’s giant dam.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned on Wednesday that “the options are open and all alternatives are available and Egypt has its strengths, foreign relations and capabilities.”
“All options are open, and all alternatives remain available, and Egypt has its capabilities, its foreign relations, and its capabilities” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned on Wednesday.
A day later, Addis Ababa reacted angrily and called the Egyptian foreign minister’s statements “irresponsible”.
However, Sudanese Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim said on Thursday that the energy generated from the Renascimento Dam will not only be enough for neighboring countries but will also contribute to the development of the entire region.
In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian state news agency, the minister stated that economic development cannot be achieved without electricity and “we believe that the new dam will help us get enough and cheap energy from Ethiopia”.
On the other hand, he said that food production from Sudan’s vast arable land could meet Ethiopia’s needs, stressing that the two countries “must work together on agriculture to ensure all our people have enough food.”
The Sudanese minister highlighted the role the giant dam will play in regional development.
“Anyway, you’re going to be looking for energy to run it, and the cheapest is solar, wind, or hydro. Here we have hydropower now and we will make the most of it. However, the dam has not yet reached its limits and we think the energy will be enough,” added Ibrahim representing Sudan, Ethiopia and others.
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have been in talks about the dam for about a decade, after Addis Ababa began implementing the project in 2011.
The minister stressed that the three countries need to think positively and understand each other in order to find lasting solutions to the outstanding problems between them.