RIYADH: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed kickstarted electricity production from the second turbine at its controversial mega-dam on the Blue Nile on Thursday, despite continuing objections by Egypt and Sudan over the project, according to AFP.
Abiy also confirmed that a third filling of the multi-billion dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was under way, a development that led Egypt last month to protest to the UN Security Council.
Thursday’s move came even though there is still no agreement between Ethiopia and its downstream neighbors Egypt and Sudan about the GERD’s operations.
Abiy insisted that the third filling of the $4.2 billion dam — set to be the largest hydroelectric scheme in Africa — was not causing any water shortages for the two countries.
“We have repeatedly told downstream countries, especially Egypt and Sudan, that by generating power we’re developing our economy, as well as (our desire) to see our citizens who live in the dark see light,” he said.
There was “no aim to sideline and harm” those countries, he added.
Ethiopia first began generating electricity at the dam in February. Currently, the two turbines, out of a total of 13 at the dam, are generating 750 megawatts of electricity.
We are ready to face all scenarios after Ethiopia completes the third filling phase of the Renaissance Dam, and we expect an unprecedented rise in the Nile waters after the gates of the dam are opened, the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation Yasser Abbas told Asharq.