EGYPT, Sudan and Ethiopia are back at the negotiation table to discuss the future of what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, the Grand Renaissance Ethiopian Dam (GERD).
Construction on the dam, which Ethiopia is building, began in 2011 on the Blue Nile tributary in the northern Ethiopia highlands, from where 85 percent of the Nile’s waters flow. However, the project has caused a row between Egypt and Ethiopia, with Sudan caught in the middle. At the centre of the dispute are plans to fill up the mega-dam as Egypt fears the project will allow Ethiopia to control the flow of Africa’s longest river. Hydroelectric power stations do not consume water, but the speed with which Ethiopia fills up the dam’s reservoir will affect the flow downstream.
‘The resumed trilateral negotiations is an indication of the commitment of all parties to the GERD to dialogue as a means toward a peaceful, amicable, and durable solution taking into consideration all the dimensions of the matter,’ said President Cyril Ramaphosa, African Union chairperson,
The negotiations follow the meeting of the African Union (AU) Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government held on 26 June 2020, the ministerial delegations of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, supported by technical experts, reconvened on 3 July 2020 to discuss the outstanding legal and technical issues pertaining to the GERD matter.
‘By this act, the parties have demonstrated their commitment to an African-led process in the spirit of African solution to African problems,’ said Ramaphosa.
He said he is sincerely encouraged by the initial report he received, which indicates focused attention by all parties to the GERD in finding solutions.
‘I wish to further implore the parties to proceed along this path in order to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues,’ he said
In accordance with the decision of the AU Bureau meeting of 26 June 2020, Ramaphosa will be presented with a report on the outcomes of the trilateral negotiations, after which he will convene a meeting of the bureau to consider the report.