The continued Diasporas’ backing to Abbay dam

Ethiopia is constructing a mega hydroelectric power plant, Abbay Dam, also known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), without relying on financial support from international or other countries. This ambitious project is a result of the cooperation and commitment of Ethiopians, from top officials to ordinary citizens, irrespective of their economic status. It is anticipated that the completion of this project will not only benefit Ethiopia but also have positive implications for Africa and beyond. However, the construction of the Abbay Dam has been marred by controversy and disagreements with certain entities over the years. Nevertheless, Ethiopians remain steadfast in their determination to see the project through to completion shortly.

The Ethiopian diaspora community around the world has consistently shown its unwavering support for the construction of the Abbay Dam. It is known that this massive hydroelectric project, situated on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, has been a subject of controversy and tension between Ethiopia and its downstream neighbors, Egypt and Sudan.

Despite opposition from Egypt, Ethiopians living abroad have vocally expressed their backing for the dam. They view it as a symbol of national pride and a crucial step towards economic development and energy independence for their homeland as well as for their other African brothers.

Ethiopian diaspora communities in Europe, North America, Australia, and other regions have organized rallies, fundraisers, and awareness campaigns to demonstrate their solidarity with the Abbay Dam project at different times. Their unwavering and continuing support is visible in what they are doing for the project.

Once completed, the Abbay Dam is expected to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant, with a capacity of approximately 6,000 megawatts. Despite facing numerous delays and setbacks since construction began in 2011, the unwavering support of Ethiopians, both at home and abroad, has brought the dam closer to completion.

As tensions persist between Ethiopia and Egypt regarding water rights on the Nile River, the solidarity exhibited by the Ethiopian diaspora community serves as a powerful reminder of their commitment to their country’s development and prosperity. With their support, the Abbay Dam is poised to become a symbol not only of energy independence but also of unity and resilience for all Ethiopians.

In light of the 13th anniversary of the dam’s construction, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia recently announced an easier way for diaspora communities to provide financial support by accepting money transfers in any currency from anywhere. The Ethiopian Diaspora Association and Ethiopia Diaspora Service have played indispensable roles in coordinating the efforts of the diaspora community.

The Ethiopian Diaspora Association recently stated that it will provide thorough support to guarantee that the Abbay Dam’s construction is completed on time.

According to Abraham Tilahun, Executive and Public Relations Head of the Diaspora Association, “the Diaspora community has an unwavering commitment to back the construction of the Abbay Dam financially, professionally, through advocacy, and other means.” He noted that from its inception, Ethiopians in the diaspora have given about 114 million Birr to the mega project and have played an important role in combating unfounded charges and external pressures from Ethiopia’s historical opponents.

“For instance, Egypt has brought the Abbay Dam issue before the United Nations Security Council twelve times in an attempt to halt building progress.

However, the Diaspora community has countered these baseless and organized charges, firmly standing on the right side,” Abraham added.

Abraham highlighted that Diaspora support will continue to grow until the grand project is completed, with an emphasis on unity and national interest.

Ermias Mekonnen, a Diaspora Board Advisor, said, “Despite Ethiopia’s historical enemies working tirelessly to obstruct the construction of this iconic project, the Diaspora community remains committed to fighting against this irrational approach because it is a matter of national interest.”

Egypt has undertaken substantial attempts to halt the construction of the Abbay Dam in a variety of ways, including hiring lobbyists to spread misleading information and confuse the international community, as well as seeking global support for its cause. However, the Ethiopian Diaspora population in several locations throughout the world has revealed Egypt’s lies, including the use of Arabic in pro-Egypt media sources.

Also, the Ethiopian Diaspora Service (EDS) recently announced plans to collect approximately USD 3 million from Diaspora community members around the world to help the Abbay Dam’s remaining building work. Belayneh Atenaw, the Deputy Director of EDS, claimed to the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) that the Diaspora community has played an important role in the development of the dam, giving roughly 55 million USD since the beginning of the project.

EDS has created a strategy that divides the world’s nations into regions, such as the Far East, America, and Africa, to raise the extra money needed for the last development projects. There have been talks with the committee on how to make contributions easier by, if needed, interacting with diaspora communities back home. Belayneh added that donations may be made via different channels offered by different financial institutions.

With two turbines, the dam currently generates 540 MW; when it is completed, this capacity is anticipated to surpass 5,000 MW. Ethiopia’s present capacity to produce electric power will nearly double as a result of the large growth in power generation. The project’s advancement is evidence of Ethiopians’ will to overcome challenges and outside impediments. Despite Egypt’s attempts to disrupt the project, Ethiopia has remained resolute in financing the dam independently.

On April 2, 2024, Ethiopia commemorated the 13th anniversary of the launch of the construction of the Abbay Dam. As of now, the dam is over 95% complete, with civil work reaching over 98% and electro-mechanical work at 76%. It is a testament to Ethiopian resilience and their unwavering commitment to achieving this long-awaited goal.

However, still, some unwarranted smears about the dam are continuing, and Egypt is trying to turn its defeat on the dam into Ethiopia’s sea access deal with Somaliland. Because the former’s unwarranted statements about the dam are completely false, the country tries to play another foolish game with the latter to cover its internal problems by externalizing.

However, Ethiopians are never defeated by an ungrounded story, and they may show their commitment to the sea access alternative as they do to the dam. All are important for the country’s development, so everyone must come to the table and negotiate what things must be done to get the country sea access, like what they did for the dam.


The Ethiopian herald May 4/2024

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