Ethiopia today celebrated the 9th year of the start of construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with a panel discussion.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy said any external pressures and challenges from inside couldn’t deter the progress of the project.
The dam will start holding 4.9 billion cubic meters of water next rainy season, the Minister said.
Engineer Ashebir Balcha, Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) CEO, said the dam is progress well and could start holding water next July.
However, if plans to hold water is not achieved due to a variety of reasons, the country will lose up to €1 billion in one year, he said.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is now 72.4%, said Engineer Kifle Horo, General Manager of the project.
Roman Gebreselassie, Head of Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of Dam, said Ethiopians from inside and abroad have so far contributed 13.4 billion birr for the dam.
Meanwhile, President Sahle-Work Zewde said the dam is a flagship project executed to break poverty.
Ethiopia is building the dam to reach 65 million people who do not have access to electricity and defeat poverty once and for all, she said.
“The project is a symbol of our unity and determination,” she said.
The President called upon all Ethiopians to continue their support to make the project a success.
GERD is scheduled to be fully completed in 2023.