Recognizing Natural Right

Abyssinia Business Network /ABN/ “It’s Our Dam”

Since the inception of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam /GERD/ Ethiopians at home and overseas have strongly held a belief that the River Abay, which is known by the name Blue Nile in the rest of the world, belongs to them. And the financial resources and the expertise invested on the dam, too.

Until 2011 Ethiopians only talked about the Nile, and did little. The idea that we turn one day to build a dam on the Blue Nile became rather a millennium old myth. No doubt, from geo-economic point of view, it’s the right dam in the right place. It is located where experts on the all-Nile system indicated as of the beginningof the 20th century.

Unlike the Aswan High Dam, GERD will create a deep lake, increase the quantity of water, and will have minimal evaporation while generating electricity for all. It is a win-win solution that Ethiopia has the right for an equitable share in the Nile and that no way it would give up. The Egyptians used to argue-and in a way continue to insist that they had historical rights, that Ethiopia had other options, and that they would never compromise on the gift of the Nile, which is the very life of Egypt body and soul.

Abraham Belay / PhD /
Minister of Innovation and Technology

This is an out-dated thought in the era of globalization; Egypt needs to avoid mentioning of “historical rights” as it would enjoy the current annual supply of water. It should also understand and accept the fact that the Great River Abay has its sources in Ethiopia that gives us a natural right over the use of the water.

The Nile Basin is a region that claims massive and diverse resources. It is very well connected through geography, faith, history and more. What seems to be lacking is the will to harness those resources in a manner compatible with the needs of individual countries. We appear to be left with cooperation and mutual benefit as the only way out.

“By the way, our demand or quest for fair and legal utilization of our natural resource is not limited to GERD only; a significant number of water projects will be developed across the Blue Nile tributaries”

While Sudan supports the dam’s construction, Egypt initially rejected it because it considers it an existential challenge. Egypt later accepted the project and the three countries signed a negotiated Declaration of Principles agreement in 2015 which is serving as the basis for the ongoing technical talks. After the tripartite agreement, expert-level negotiations on the safety, filling and operation of the dam were progressing among the countries.

From the start we should not have asked permission from any other nation regarding the construction of GERD. Both Sudan and Egypt have never looked for permission or advice from Ethiopia when they built dams and developed waters of the Nile River. However, we Ethiopians do not have selfish and perilous behavior to harm any of the downstream countries. That is why, we, from the onset have gone into fruitful discussions, negotiations and cooperation agreement.

For Ethiopians now, GERD is a question beyond development and century’s old desire to get out of the quagmire of poverty and backwardness; tens of millions of citizens are living under frightening darkness while Egyptians and Sudanese are living under illuminating and sparking light. This’s really painful and irritating even to think of the disparity.
By the way, our demand or quest for fair and legal utilization of our natural resource is not limited to GERD only; a significant number of water projects will be developed across the Blue Nile tributaries. There should be no negotiations over such use of natural resource.

The Egyptian leaders and politicians are very theatrical; they have aggressively been working on huge deception of the international community, disseminating fake narratives over the Blue Nile and going to the extent of noting that the River belongs to Egypt. They do so simply because they are scared of the potential that Ethiopia and other upstream countries would be powerful and economically independent as a result of ongoing and future development over the Nile.

No doubt, Egypt usually takes advantage of internal chaos and unrest in Ethiopia to fully ensure and maintain superiority over the use of the Nile River. Thus we need to be cautious on this and strengthen unity, peace and togetherness despite any political differences among various parties.

“Once we have developed such renewable energy resources, the next source will be nuclear and other means of energy that will significantly unveil the nation’s century’s old curtains of darkness”

The disagreement and dispute among Ethiopia and the downstream countries: Egypt and Sudan may appear endless. But as far as projects we undertake over the Nile remain harmless and bring about mutual benefits, we need to simply keep doing our job as the saying goes the camels walk while the dogs bark. We won’t come to terms with these countries unless they respect and recognize our natural and legal rights to utilize the waters of the Blue Nile.

Furthermore, we should consolidate our diplomatic efforts in order to reverse the fake and fictitious propaganda Egypt has been waging against us, and reveal the truth and the objective realities on the construction of GERD. Highlighting the fact that the dam will never inflict significant harm on the downstream countries and it will avoid the disastrous silting at dams and evaporation of water in the downstream countries.

When it comes to Ethiopia’s current electric power sale, we could say that in spite of the insufficient electric energy the country generates, it is selling power to Djibouti and Sudan and plans to do so to Kenya and other nations in the region. This helps strengthen political, social and economic cooperation and integration in the region.
With the ever-growing population and huge demand for energy in the country, the Government of Ethiopia has currently embarked on developing renewable energy sources. Power mix is our primary agenda. We have launched convenient energy policy that allows private developers engage in renewable energy production and distribution through Independent Power Producers /IPP/ initiative. This shall bring about significant changes in the country’s energy supply.

Once we have developed such renewable energy resources,the next source will be nuclear and other means of energy that will significantly unveil the nation’s century’s old curtains of darkness and shade light on the nearing Ethiopian renaissance.

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