Ethiopia announced on September 10 that it had completed the filling of its Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile, a move that has sparked a long-standing water dispute with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt and Sudan have expressed concerns that the massive $4.2 billion dam will significantly reduce their share of Nile water. They have repeatedly called on Ethiopia to halt the filling until all three nations reach an agreement on how the dam should operate.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed proudly declared the successful completion of the fourth and final filling of the Renaissance Dam, acknowledging the challenges faced along the way.
The Ethiopian government referred to the dam, one of the largest in Africa, as “a gift to generations,” emphasizing its role in providing electricity to millions of Ethiopians. When operating at full capacity, the dam could generate over 5,000 megawatts, doubling Ethiopia’s current electricity production.
Egypt, which heavily relies on the Nile for 97 percent of its water needs, considers the dam an existential threat. Sudan, embroiled in civil conflict, has oscillated in its stance over the years.
The United Nations has warned that Egypt could face a water shortage by 2025, while parts of Sudan, affected by droughts linked to climate change, remain vulnerable due to their dependence on the Nile’s waters. Negotiations among the three countries, which recently resumed after a lengthy hiatus, aim to reach an agreement that considers the interests and concerns of all parties and puts an end to unilateral actions.