- Meles Zanawi laid the corner stone for the Millennium Dam construction this morning (April 2, 2011)
APA-Addis Ababa: Ethiopia on Saturday starts construction works on Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam, expected to generate around 5,250 MW, at a cost of €3.3 billion over the Nile River, which remains a concern for Egypt as it is opposing any such project over the river.
It is the first time that Ethiopia engages such a project on the Nile.
Ethiopia contributes over 80 % of water to the river which crosses nine countries.
Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi said the government is forced to finance the project alone because Egypt has been engaged in a continuous campaign telling international creditors and donors not to finance Ethiopian projects on the Nile River.
The “Millennium Dam on the Nile’, is expected to hold 62 billion cubic meters of water.
It will be constructed 20 to 40 kilometres east of the Sudanese border.
The Millennium Dam will be completed in 44 months and two of its units will start generation 700 mega watts of electricity at initial stage.
The ministry calls upon all Ethiopian people both at home and in the Diaspora to buy bonds for the construction of the Millennium Dam and leave their mark on Ethiopia’s transformative development.
Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi, who laid the corner stone for the construction of the dam, said that the project, to be financed by Ethiopian government, will cost the government around €3.3 billion.
“There is nothing to interrupt us from undertaking such works at Nile river.
We have the potential to use all our rivers, including the Nile. We are doing this not to hurt anyone but to benefit our citizens in the fight against poverty,” said Meles.
The Premier indicated that the project will help both Sudan and Egypt.
It will reduce flash flooding to Sudan, evaporation of water from the river and will become a source of irrigation, according to Meles.
“If there is such a cooperation among us, Sudan will have a contribution of 30 % of the project while Egypt 20 %. But we are not lucky for such kind of cooperation and forced to finance it alone,” said Meles.
He also indicated that Ethiopia will also work on having between 6,000 MW and 8,000 MW of power in the coming five years, which will enable the country to export power to neighbouring country.
The power plant named “Millennium Dam On the Nile” which claims to be the first of its kind in Africa will cover 40 sq km over the Nile river.
There is no reaction from Egypt yet over the announcement of this project.
Egypt has been expressing concern on such huge dam over Nile saying it will reduce its water share.