A high-profile delegation is attending a two-day technical meeting held in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to discuss Egyptian concerns with the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD). The Egyptian delegation will discuss proposals on Wednesday and Thursday.
According to Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), advisor to the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation Alaa Yassin said that during the meeting, a report on the outcome of the technical meeting will be presented to the ministers of irrigation of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.
The proposal aims to increase the number of holes in the dam’s body to increase water flow to downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam Moghazi told state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram that the technical delegation of the three countries consisted of five experts, as well as specialists from non-members of the tripartite committee of the dam. Moghazi said the Italian company Salini is also attending meeting as a consultant.
Moghazi said the tripartite committee’s tenth technical meeting will take place in Cairo in the last week of January. It will include the ministers of irrigation and technicians to discuss financial and technical proposals provided by consulting firms that have been agreed on; Artylia and B.R.L are responsible of the implementation of the required technical studies on the dam.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in early February that contracts would be signed in Khartoum with the two French firms responsible for carrying out studies on the impact of the dam on the water shares of downstream countries.
The meeting is a continuation of a series of meetings held in late December and attended by foreign ministers and ministers of Water Resources of the three countries Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The three countries have been trying to end the current dispute over technical studies aimed at investigating the impact of the dam.
GERD is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric plant with a storage capacity of 74bn cubic metres of water.
Egypt has concerns and fears that the dam might negatively affect its 55 cubic metre share of Nile water but Ethiopia has said the dam would not cause any harm to any Nile Basin country.