Power-Starved Ethiopia Rallies Around Nile Dam As Egypt Dispute Simmers

The diversion Ethiopia made on the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, as part of its Grand Renaissance Dam. PHOTO | WILLIAM LLOYD GEORGE | AFP.

By Daily Nation

Cell phone batteries constantly dying, health centers bereft of modern equipment, a dependence on flashlights after sundown — Kafule Yigzaw experienced all these struggles and more growing up without electricity in rural Ethiopia.

So five years ago, he leapt at the chance to work on a project designed to light up his country and the wider Horn of Africa region: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a 145-metre-high, 1.8-kilometre-long concrete colossus that is set to become the largest hydropower plant in Africa.

“Our country has a huge problem with electricity,” Kafule, 22, told AFP recently while taking a break from reinforcing steel pipes that will funnel water from the Blue Nile River to one of the dam’s 13 turbines.

“This is about the existence of our nation and, in my opinion, it will help us break free from the bondage of poverty.”

The dam is expected to begin producing energy by the end of this year.

Across Ethiopia, poor farmers and rich businessmen eagerly await the more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity officials say it will ultimately provide. Read more>>

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