On Sunday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed presided over a ceremony that marked the start of power generation at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s first turbine (375 MW).
The 6,000 MW hydroelectric station is Africa’s biggest and most controversial and has been in construction for about a decade. The multi-billion dollar mega-dam was built on the Blue Nile, where most of the waters that flow into the Nile River in Sudan and Egypt originates.
While two key treaties were signed in 1929 and 1959 on the use of the Nile waters, Ethiopia was not part of it and went ahead with the development of the project in 2011.
The dam is 1.8km-long and 155m-high with total volume of 10.4 million m3, making it the biggest dam in Africa and one of the largest in the world. Initially scheduled for completion in 2018, the dam’s construction was delayed due to poor execution of works by METEC, which was taken off the project and replaced by new contractors in 2019.