ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian government on Saturday called for transparent dialogue with the Egyptian government and public on a 6,450-megawatt hydro dam Ethiopia is constructing.
Egypt, a Nile river downstream country, has feared that the dam will cut into its water supply, potentially crippling its agricultural sector that is already struggling with water shortage.
Speaking to Xinhua, Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE), said there is little understanding in Egypt on the benefits of the dam Ethiopia is building on Blue Nile river.
“The hydro dam will reduce the amount of siltation and floods that severely affects hydro dams in downstream countries like Egypt and Sudan by regulating the water flow” he said.
MOWIE explains Sudan alone spends an average of 50 million U.S. dollars annually on removing silt from its dams.
Ethiopia insists that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is part of its desire to equitably use Nile water to help power its economic growth.
The minister further said Ethiopia is building the dam with a view to harnessing energy for regional economic integration especially of Northeast Africa.
Tensions over GERD saw senior Ethiopian and Egyptian officials exchange war of words this week, prompting fears it could lead to political crisis between the two African countries.