Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to finalize Blue Nile dam agreement

Ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed on Wednesday, to reconvene in Washington later this month to finalise an agreement on the giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that sparked a diplomatic crisis between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

The ministers met in Washington this week and agreed to fill the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in stages during the wet season, taking into account, the impact on downstream reservoirs.

Initial filling of the dam, due to begin in July, will aim for a level of 595 metres above sea level and early electricity generation, while providing appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan during severe droughts.

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Cairo fears the dam, announced in 2011 and under construction on the Blue Nile near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, will restrict supplies of already scarce Nile waters on which its population of more than 100 million people is almost entirely dependent.

Addis Ababa denies the dam will undermine Egypt’s access to water and says the project is crucial to its economic development, as it aims to become Africa’s biggest power exporter with a projected capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts.

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