African leaders convene talks over Nile dam tensions

ADDIS ABABA, African leaders sat down on Tuesday for a virtual meeting about Ethiopia’s controversial mega-dam across the Blue Nile.

It comes after recent talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt ended without a deal.

Ethiopia hopes the dam will bring electricity to tens of millions of its people currently living without access to regular power, but Egypt – which gets most of its freshwater from the Nile – is concerned that it will threaten its water supply.

After almost a decade of construction, the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is starting to fill up without a hoped for deal between Ethiopia and the downstream countries of Sudan and Egypt.

Ethiopia is keen to start generating electric power as soon as possible but Egypt and Sudan want guarantees that essential water supplies will not be reduced.

Previous attempts to arrive at an agreement have not borne fruit.

The current effort by the African Union has not yet reached a settlement – but the heads of state, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, will see if any progress has been made and whether there are new paths to pursue.

When it’s turned on, the dam will generate 6,000 megawatts, which will make it the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa.

Source: NAM News Network