GERD’s fourth filling despite challenges

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed broke the news of the completion of the fourth filling of the GERD on September 10, 2023. It was a big announcement because GERD is the hope of all Ethiopians and a tool to combat poverty. GERD is a flagship national project creating national consensus without a difference because the dam has reached all the way from its inception to the completion of the fourth filling with the concerted support of all Ethiopians. So it is our fingerprint of unity and it is beyond just filling the water to the reservoir. The premier noted through our collaborative efforts, God has helped us. He congratulated all those who have participated in the overall activities of the project by contributing money, time, labor and prayers.

“There were a lot of challenges. We had been dragged backwards. We had encountered internal challenges and external pressures. We have overcome all these and able to arrive at this stage. However, we have not yet completed climbing the uphill though we have just arrived at the tip of the hill, he wrote on his social medium account urging Ethiopians to continue their support until the completion of the dam.

The successful completion of the 4th round filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) shows that no challenge will stop Ethiopians when they stand together for one common goal, GERD negotiating team leader and Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States, Sileshi Bekele said. During the past four years, sufficient volume of rainfall has been gained that facilitated the filling of the dam he added.

The water captured by the Aswan dam in Egypt has been released for it held more than enough water during the current rainy season, he noted, stating that the filling of the dam has been carried out without harm to the lower riparian countries.

Sileshi further pointed out that besides being a source of cooperation between the three countries; the dam has practically demonstrated the fact that there will be no damage to the lower riparian countries. The successful completion of the 4th round filling of GERD opens a new chapter in the process of the construction of the dam, Sileshi underlined.

Stating that the two turbines which have already started generating power are currently in operation, he said other additional turbines will start generating power during the current Ethiopian budget year.

Praising Ethiopians for their continued contribution to the construction of the dam, he further urged for continued support until its completion. The success which registered in the construction of the dam has manifested that Ethiopians can realize other grand developmental activities in a collaborative manner, ambassador Sileshi affirmed. The GERD is completely financed by the contributions of the Ethiopian people. It is being built with the blood, sweat and tears of the Ethiopian people.

Similarly, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Meles Alem said the dam has addressed the quest of a generation and the successful completion of the fourth round filling of GERD is a gift for Ethiopians on their new year.

Meles noted that Ethiopia has been under immense pressures because of the dam; but succeeded in overcoming challenges by firmly sticking to principle and commitment.

As a demonstration of one of the benefits of the dam, he cited the power integration works Ethiopia has been pursing with the neighboring countries that will in turn strengthen economic integration.

In addition, the dam has huge benefits in protecting for the lower riparian countries from sediment, floods and ensuring sufficient water flow. The fourth round filling has been conducted based on the policy of sovereignty of Ethiopia and to enable 65 million citizens access electricity. Recalling that Ethiopia had not signed any agreement regarding the Abbay River, the spokesperson added that the country will not be stopped from its development efforts by those one-sided colonial era agreements.

Meles, who said that Ethiopia enjoys good relationship with the riparian countries beyond the GERD said that Ethiopia will further strengthen collaboration with the countries on development and shared benefits of the respective peoples as well as regional issues.

According to the GERD negotiating team member Yacob Arsano the fourth filling of the GERD is a success Ethiopia has registered withstanding diplomatic pressures. Noting that immense pressures had been made to stop the country from launching the project at the outset, he added that Ethiopia had also to overcome various challenges it encountered. According to him, the successful completion of the fourth filling has fully reversed the pressure against Ethiopia.

As there were extensive diplomatic campaigns in this regard, it is a big diplomatic victory for the country to complete the water filling according to plan.

Yacob pointed out the Ethiopian people give priority to the national interest of their country and the next generation rather than for personal interest, and this has been demonstrated through the GERD. As a result the giant power generating dam built by the Ethiopian public who funded it has started bearing fruit.

The associate professor stressed that the dam filling is the outcome of the contribution of the public in finance, labor, knowledge and persistent prayer. He said Ethiopia has always taken into consideration the mutual benefit of neighboring downstream countries in its water development. Accordingly, the filling of the dam was carried out by allowing sufficient water to pass to the downstream countries.

Yacob revealed that Ethiopia has been demonstrating this during the last fillings, and Egyptian officials have confirmed that the Aswan Dam is holding sufficient water. And the fourth filling of GERD was accomplished by allowing enough water to reach the downstream countries.

Ethiopia’s right to use its natural resources within its sovereign territory must, however, be recognized, he underscored. He further reiterated that Ethiopia has been sticking to the principle of utilizing transboundary water resources fairly and without causing significant harm to the downstream countries.

Similarly, a historian Professor Adam Kamil remarked the successful completion of the fourth filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) vividly demonstrates the capability of Ethiopians to transform their country through a collective effort without harming others.

Professor Adam Kamil said that the success of filling of the renaissance dam is good news that has come after going through many challenges. He said that there were many challenges toward the dam to reach the level it has reached today.

The successful completion of the fourth round filling of GERD shows the power of unity to overcome challenges for a common goal. The historian pointed out that the success obtained in filling of the dam has taught us that we should stand together for the development of Ethiopia. For this reason, he said, we should focus on issues that unite us rather than differences.

Adam said that Ethiopia’s desire is to develop and grow with its renaissance dam without harming any country and he called on the young generation to realize this and contribute its share to Ethiopia. He emphasized that Ethiopians should repeat the unity and determination shown on the Renaissance Dam in other development endeavors too.

It is to be recalled that since the commencement of the construction of the dam 12 years ago, Ethiopians have been collectively mobilizing resources for the GERD, especially raising about 18.3 billion Birr to finance it.

Meanwhile other scholars as well said GERD is the mark of this generation that will impact the future and is Ethiopia’s identity. The progress in the dam also asserts Ethiopia’s right to utilize the Abbay River and holds significant hydro-political implications for Ethiopia, the lower riparian countries, and the region at large, ushering in cooperation possibilities in developing transboundary resources.

They said the role of the dam on the Abbay River hydro-politics is so huge in view of political economy, because it changes the status quo and ushers in Ethiopia’s right of fair use of the waters without harming the lower riparian countries. If taken positively, it is an indication of a project for transboundary resources development and cooperation. It is also the footprint of this generation that strengthens Ethiopia’s connection with the river.

Upon completion and start of generating hydropower, the lower Nile riparian countries will realize that the hydro dam will not harm them; and the dam will provide a lesson on how to utilize transboundary resources together and in cooperation. The dam will also promote fair utilization of water resources and serve as a model for transboundary cooperation. It should be underlined that it was attained amid pressing challenges.

We have overcome the challenges we faced yesterday and reached here, they said, adding that the way we passed yesterday is an indication that we will overcome today’s challenges and achieve a prosperous Ethiopia. The completion of the 4th round of the dam is a demonstration that Ethiopia can achieve any project even in the face of challenges. The dam is a symbol of our unity and strength to eradicate poverty and pass on a prosperous nation for the next generation.

The Advisor to the Minister of Water and Energy said the successful completion of the fourth filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a confirmation of Ethiopia’s position not to cause harm to Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia has once again declared beyond any doubt that the country is only seeking development, after many speculated about the danger of filling in its various stages he said.

The fourth filling of the dam is a critical stage, in which Ethiopia confirmed the fact that the country is moving in the right direction,

More importantly, the GERD has proved Ethiopia’s firm position that the country doesn’t pursue any development at the expense of the brothers in Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia always aspires to achieve mutual development by strengthening relations with all countries in the region.

He said “Egypt and Sudan should also share the joy with Ethiopia over the success of the fourth filling the GERD since it has not brought any significant harms so far, he added that the fourth filling process confirms Ethiopia’s developmental determination and that the Renaissance Dam project is a development project not only for Ethiopia but for all neighboring countries that would promote benefits for everyone. As the GERD is a development gift to all countries, we should stop politicizing it.

Rather countries should be optimistic about the Renaissance Dam because it enhances development, investment and creates job opportunities in Ethiopia and beyond.

Despite all the internal and external challenges to the Renaissance Dam project, the advisor said that Ethiopia was exercising active diplomacy until the country was able to successfully announce the fourth filling of GERD without causing harm to Egypt and Sudan.

According to Blue Ocean Strategy Practitioner Bhavesh Chandaria the fourth-round filling of the GERD is a game changer and driver of accelerated development for Ethiopia. “Affordable electricity is a game changer and driver of accelerated development which is much needed for Ethiopia,” he underlined.

Ethiopia has already started selling electricity to Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya. And others will follow suit.

Chandaria believes beyond power generation, Ethiopia would also be able to create economic zones around the GERD area. This is so because there is enough supply of electricity which will act as a catalyst for the regional development closer to the people and market.


The Ethiopian Herald September 21/2023

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