Egypt and Ethiopia Return to Nile Dam Talks

A thaw between Egypt and Ethiopia amid the resumed negotiations on the construction of the “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” (GERD).

This is a large reservoir built on Ethiopian territory, on the Blue Nile, near the border with Sudan, where it continues the course of the river, finally reaching Egypt. In these cases, agreements must be signed between all countries affected by the waters of the Nile. Egypt is particularly concerned, as the river is the main source of water in the desert country. Over the years, the talks and declarations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have turned into a saga, nearing the point of military threats after failed mediation attempts by the USA and the African Union.

“I think the main reason is the lack of political will on the part of Ethiopia to conclude such an agreement. I repeat that the question of Nile water is an existential issue for Egypt,” said Bassam Radi, Egyptian Ambassador to Rome.

Now, according to reports from Il Sole 24 Ore, Egyptian President al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have arranged for an agreement to be prepared within the next 4 months. Sudan should also be involved in this, as it sides with Egypt and asks Addis Ababa for a guaranteed outflow of water.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is 1,800 meters long, 170 meters high, can hold up to 74 billion cubic meters of water and generate 5,000 megawatts of power needed to ensure Ethiopia’s energy stability. Guaranteeing certain flows to downstream countries may lead to non-optimal use of the energy potential.