Abbay Dam:Source of electricity, fraternity

The construction of the Abbay Dam has reached 92 % while the filling of water has been carried out successfully for the 4th time so far. This means the dam can be said nearing its completion without causing any of the feared problems that are repeatedly raised by lower riparian countries. It has proven false all these claims.

Abbay is the longest river in the world and stands second in water volume. If properly used, it can help develop agriculture and fishing, and generate electricity. However, Ethiopia has been suffering from poverty despite having this globally abundant resource at its disposal.

The country has suffered from both food insecurity as well as energy poverty. Indeed harnessing such a big water body requires a huge sum of capital. It is difficult to afford for a country like Ethiopia. Ethiopia has managed to get financial and technical support to exploit other rivers. Yet it was not able to secure funding for it due to the trans-boundary nature of the river.

Therefore it has to coordinate the efforts of people to contribute money as it is a matter of life and death. While doing this, the government has been doing all the necessary diplomatic works to explain the true purpose of the river and that Ethiopia intends only to use the river water without causing damage to the water share or interests of the downstream countries.

However, more than securing the huge amount of money for the building of the dam, handing the complaints of some of the lower riparian states was more challenging. Ethiopia has never concealed its interest in using the river. Furthermore, it has been engaged in constant discussion with the lower riparian states repeatedly since the launching of the construction of the dam.

Through signing the Declaration of Principles agreement (DoP) Ethiopia has reaffirmed its stance to wisely utilize the resources for mutual benefit and with due responsibility to the concerns of the downstream countries. It has also engaged in continuous dialogue with the countries with the mediatory role of the AU and friendly countries.

A couple of years ago, the dam started generating power with two of its turbines using the already collected water in the reservoir. By now, it is planned to generate power using an additional five of the turbines which means a lot for the country.

In addition to adding supply to the energy needs of the country, it is also an indicator that both the construction of the dam as well as the filling of water in it have been executed with due care and responsibility so that all the fears expressed before cannot hold water.

Thanks to the wise leadership of the government and the unwavering commitment of the people, the highly anticipated and iconic dam has attained more than 90 % of its construction level which can be considered almost complete. As it has withered away the fear of creating disaster, it will surely serve in the future as a source of cooperation among all the riparian.

So far, Ethiopia has been exporting some amount of electric power to neighboring countries, like Sudan and Djibouti during the evening. This has contributed somehow to fostering the relations between Ethiopia and the neighboring countries in addition to addressing the energy needs of the neighboring countries.

Hence the dam will join the other hydropower plants in the country to promote the supply of clean and affordable energy as well as to cement the existing strong diplomatic and economic ties between Ethiopia and neighboring countries.

The Ethiopian Herald September 15/2023

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