French firms to study “environmental impact” of Grand Renaissance Dam
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have agreed on which firms will carry out studies on the potential impact of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the flow of the Nile, their foreign and water ministers said.
Cairo and Addis Ababa had previously been locked in a bitter war of words over Ethiopia’s $4bn project.
But in March, the leaders of the three countries signed a cooperation deal in the Sudanese capital Khartoum that paved the way for a joint approach to regional water supplies.
Following a two-day meeting of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan’s foreign and water ministers, Khartoum’s chief diplomat, Ibrahim Ghandour, on Tuesday said two French firms BRL and Artelia had been tapped for the work.
Technical studies will start in February, when the six ministers are due to meet again, and will take between six and 15 months, Moataz Mousa, the Sudanese water minister, said.
The principles in the March agreement included giving priority to downstream countries for electricity generated by the dam, a mechanism for resolving conflicts, and providing compensation for damages.
Signatories also pledged to protect the interests of downstream countries when the dam’s reservoir is filled.
Addis Ababa has long complained that Cairo was pressuring donor countries and international lenders to withhold funding from the 6,000 megawatt dam, which is being built by Italy’s largest construction firm Salini Impregilo Spa. Read more