New Ethiopian Dam Project
April 7, 2011 • 11:14AM

On April 2, the Ethiopian government celebrated the laying of the first stone of their new mega hydropower project, the Great Millennium Dam, to be created in a area 20-40 km from the border of Sudan. The dam is to hold 62 billion cubic meters of water, and produce 5,250 MW of electricity, utilizing 15 turbines, each generating 350 MW, when it is fully operational. They plan to have in 44 months two units functioning that will yield 700MW of power. The completion of the Millennium Dam is a key feature of the government's ambitious plans to generate 10,000 MW of power, as outlined in the their five-year Growth and Transformation Plan, to provide electricity to the country's citizens, and for export to neighboring countries. The government intends to fund the estimated cost, which would be 80 billion birr, or almost five billion US dollars, with the Ethiopian Electrical Power Corporation (EEPCo) selling bonds to help raise the money.

The complication for this and future dam projects in Ethiopia that affect the Blue and the White Nile system, is the contentious relations among the nations of the Nile Basin, centered around Egypt's demands for the Nile as outlined in the 1959 Nile Water agreement. The only sane approach is to utilize Lyndon LaRouche's platform conception of infrastructure in determining how to meet the needs for water, food, and electrical power for the people of the entire Maghreb and Horn of Africa region, including additional complications which will emerge in three months with the creation of the new state of South Sudan. Only from this higher platform perspective, can new economic, agricultural, and political relations, especially new water agreements among the nations effected, be resolved.