On February 20, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, the production of electricity from the turbines installed in the GERD dam, in the region of Benishangul Gumuz, was officially started.
This is a particularly important milestone for the country, which plans to gradually produce over 5,000 megawatts, doubling national electricity production.
In the inauguration speech of the plants, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wanted to reassure first of all the neighboring countries affected by the common exploitation of the waters of the Blue Nile, saying that the GERD dam does not intend to put at risk the security of any country and that, on the contrary, it will represent an opportunity for development thanks to the electricity that will be generated.
Abiy Ahmed defined as unfounded the rumors circulated in Sudan and Egypt about a reduction in the flow of Blue Nile waters, while the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Zhoukry, only a few days before had stated that Ethiopia persisted in violations related to the management of flows.
More cautious is the position of Sudan, politically aligned with Egypt although pragmatically interested in benefiting as much from the dam’s electricity production as from its ability to contain the disastrous annual effects of floods. The government of the military junta of Khartoum, while officially siding with Egypt in supporting its requests in every international forum, has long been engaged in a bilateral dialogue with Ethiopia, which is much quieter than the dialogue with Egypt.
The development and inauguration of the GERD dam has become over time a matter of Ethiopian national pride, that on its autonomous capacity of electricity development has fed enormous expectations mainly related to economic and industrial development.
Costing US$ 4.2 billion, the dam was entirely financed by Ethiopia’s internal subscriptions, and the turbines are expected to be fully operational by 2024.