Addis Ababa, August  1/2020 (ENA) Egypt and Sudan will benefit more from completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Addis Ababa University Professor Costantinos Berhe said.

In exclusive interview with ENA, Public Policy Professor Costantinos Berhe said the dam will have huge benefit not only for Ethiopia but also Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia was left behind in development due to the unfair treaty of the British colonial power on Abbay River, he noted, adding that the construction of the dam now is an example of how countries can cooperate with one another on utilizing water.

“We
can cooperate on agricultural development and water resource
development. Frankly speaking both Egypt and Sudan should contribute to
environmental conservation in the Blue Nile valley, because the more we
conserve the catchment areas of the valley the more water will be
retained for the two countries,” the professor elaborated.

Costantinos
pointed out that a lot of negotiations have been going with the
riparian countries, especially Sudan and Egypt; and Sudan would be the
biggest beneficiary of this undertaking because it will have more water
for its irrigable land.

Egypt
has been raising lots of questions about its fear of not getting enough
water. That is not tenable anymore because there is enough water in the
Abay River.

“I
don’t think the Egyptian would be overly concerned because this water
is not just an economic issue, it is also humanitarian issue. I don’t
think the Ethiopian government or any Ethiopian believes that Egypt
would be harmed because of this dam.”

But, Egyptians are trying to divert their internal problem to the dam, Costantinos added.

Upon
completion, the dam will transform the environment assets around the
lake and the entire population can have access to electricity.

Egypt’s
concerns have taken several negotiations and meetings, but “ I think
the culprit here is the colonial treaty in 1929 and 1959 where Egypt is
made 100 percent beneficiary of the Nile River, with of course Sudan in
the second treaty. Ethiopia is given zero, he revealed.

The
professor clarified the point by saying, “ Egyptians might feel
frustrated, but I don’t think they need to take it anywhere except to
seat down and agree on both the economic and humanitarian aspect of this
dam because the dam is owned 100 percent by Ethiopians and Ethiopia has
respected all international water agreements that are necessary to
build this dam and fill it with water. Therefore, the fear of the
Egyptians  is very unfounded.”

Over
the last three years, the rainfall pattern in Ethiopia has been good
and storing water in the highlands of Ethiopia means less evaporation
during the dry season in Egypt. So Egypt will have more water, he
stated.

If
excess water happens on the Nile, on the contrary, Egyptians don’t want
to even use it and send it to the Mediterranean, Therefore their
complaints are unfounded, Costantinos revealed.

Appreciating
the role of AU and its leadership in the negotiation process, the
professor said it is an important institution for Africans.  

He
further stated that the African Union has done a good job in terms of
bringing Ethiopia and Egypt closer, and given legitimacy to AU means
that any problem that arises within Africa should be resolved by
Africans themselves.



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