Senior Ethiopian Government officials and Youth leaders from other African countries have urged Africans to focus on working together to bolster development.
During a virtual discussion organized by the Ethiopian Embassy in Uganda in partnership with the African Youth Caucasus on the “Dialogue on the Ethiopian Dam (GERD) and Cooperation in the Nile Basin,” the participants stated that over relying on Colonial and pre – Colonial treaties is one of the major factors hindering development in some African countries.
“There is no reason why any African country should oppose the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which upon completion, will supply cheaper Hydro Electricity Power to the country’s population as well as selling the surplus to neighboring countries,” remarked Her Excellency Alemtsehay Meseret Gelaw, Ethiopia’s Ambasador to Uganda and Burundi.
She also revealed that once there is availability of Electricity, the issue of unemployment which is currently one of the major challenges continentwide will be reduced since more industries will be set up and in turn create employment for the people especially the youth.
Zerihun Abebe Yigzaw, a senior Diplomat at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ethiopia and a member of GERD Negotiation Team, pointed out that it’s unfortunate that some countries in the Nile basin are still relying on the Colonial and pre- colonial treaties to address current matters aimed at developing the African continent.
“Most of the countries in the Nile basin have similar characteristics in a number of issues including mode of operations and historical relationship which makes us brothers. We shall cooperate with any country on the issue of Dam construction provided it doesn’t politicize the matter,” Abebe said.
He adds that this dam, which upon completion will be the biggest dam in Africa, should be an inspiration to all other African countries that even without foreign financial support, Africans can be able to establish bigger projects.
Outlook of the proposed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
Another participant, Garang K Lester, a Member of the EAC Youth Ambassadors Platform from South Sudan, noted that the construction of the dam has so far benefitted citizens from over 40 countries whose citizens are both directly and indirectly employed by the project.
“There are countries in the Nile Basin, like South Sudan which have almost non existing energy sources. Through energy-led diplomacy, the Dam can be an energy source to the regions that boarder Ethiopia,” Lareng said.
A week ago, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officially inaugurated electricity production from the mega dam which he says will help over 60 percent of the country’s population to also access electricity.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia located 45 km east of the of the border with Sudan.
However, some other neighboring countries like Egypt, are opposing the project over a number of reasons including fears that this may affect the water levels of the Nile among others.
Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry accused Ethiopia of persisting on its violations of a preliminary deal signed between the three nations in 2015, prohibiting any of the parties from taking unilateral actions in the use of the river’s water.
The post Colonial Treaties, Policies Still Hindering Development in African Countries – Ethiopian Gov’t first appeared on ChimpReports.