"Over 70 Percent Had Been Finalized - Biased Media "
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has started to emblazon Ethiopia with lots of pride and confidence since its herald of construction. Globally and at home, the Dam has emerged as a symbol of resurgence, revival and determination to play leading role in Africa. The once conflict-ridden nation has now enjoyed 25 years of peace, prosperity and stability that enabled to give birth to mega projects like the GERD.
Ethiopia has been undertaking construction of the GERD non-stop and the height of the Dam is well in progress. At the beginning of its construction some media had compared it to Hoover Dam(originally called Boulder dam built on Colorado River, which was built in the time of great depression and was taken as marvel of engineering). Magazines like the Economist had also matched the GERD with a nuclear plant in South Africa. What so ever, all media have been confidently reporting that the GERD is the largest hydro power project in Africa and it will put Ethiopia in the spotlight of the world regarding power generation and economic boom.
The benefit of the Dam has also been commended by various researches and media forums around the world(though some criticized it in the eye of colonial treaties). Worth remembering, Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina, U.S, Dale Whittington had once said that once the Renaissance Dam is filled, the Aswan dam will lose less water through evaporation and will compensate for evaporation losses from the GERD, as evaporation losses from the GERD will be less than the Aswan dam because the surface area is less and the climate is somewhat cooler(all the benefits to Egypt and Sudan could not be mentioned for fear of redundancy, time and space reasons).
Despite this very fact, some Egyptian and Sudanese media had reported incorrect figures about the level of the construction of the GERD. These media houses had purposely distorted the figures or unknowingly reported fabricated figures(ostrich mentality: head in the sand of Sahara and blind to the stark reality).Their report is more than presumption that they are flip-flopping and fussing over the issue of the GERD and Nile cooperation, even after so many joint and tri-lateral discussions and public briefings.
A case in point, Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) Minister Getachew Reda in an interview with the Saudi-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said that 50 percent of construction work and most civil engineering projects were complete. He stressed that 70 percent of the project will be complete when turbines are installed. Whereas(completely contradicting to the essence of his briefing) Egyptian media and Sudan Tribune had brazenly reported that Getachew had said that currently 70 percent of the GERD had been finalized).
Besides, while commenting on Egyptian chroniclers that said Ethiopia seeks to buy time until the consultancy firms complete the impact studies, he said that the work of foreign firms has to do with impact assessment on Nile basin partners and nothingelse.(it is worth reckoning that last year, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan had selected two French and Dutch consultancy firms to conduct technical studies on the impact of the dam on the downstream countries – Sudan and Egypt).
He stressed that Ethiopia has no reason to buy time as it is working in line with the original assessment conducted by the International Panel of Experts(IPEs) and buying time is a mechanism for something hidden and harmful which is absolutely contradicting with the transparent and cooperative stand of Ethiopia.
Gettachew noted that being constructed after having state-of the-art design and technology, capable consultants offering their advice and undertaking of reliable impact assessment, the Dam will not harm the interests of Sudan and Egypt. He said that people of Nile basin countries would benefit from it. But, if some parties believe that they will be harmed by it, they can check the undertakings of the GERD again and again. Ethiopia has been keeping open arms to anyone who wants to make detailed studies over the GERD (confidence emanating from reliable design, technology and far-reaching impact assessment).
The Minister had corroborated that Sudan has been backing the GERD taking in to account the Project would serve its interest. He confirmed that the dam has became a concrete reality that could not be reversed, but a blessing to the peoples of the three countries when viewed from its benefit to generate power to the electricity-starved region, halt devastative flash floods that is plaguing lives and property in Sudan and establishment of regional integration through electrification.
In this regard, the Minister stressed that Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, has so many times confirmed that his country supports the GERD project. Sudan understands the mutual benefits the project could offer Ethiopia and Sudan and said he will extend the necessary support to ensure the successful completion of the massive hydro-power project.
In addition, in a bid to realize regional integration, Ethiopia has materialized construction of power grid lines that stretch to neighboring Sudan and Djibouti enabling them to benefit from exports of electricity. Ethiopia also plans to export hydro-power generated electricity to Kenya when a transmission line project is completed.
Contrary to this all very fact, some biased Egyptian media interested to sustain jingoism and intransigence rooting from the era of British colonization and defunct era of Nassir, are committed to pervert every piece of reality and publication to mislead the international community (though the international community has long understood the lopsided and colonial-time claim of Egypt. Even, a secret in public, Egyptian parliament has recently shunned its entrenched holier than you attitude on Nile and declared the reality that Ethiopia has undeniable right to construct dam on Nile, defying the deep-rooted and perverted attitude of politicians and diplomats).
As a particular evidence, recently Egyptian news paper called ``Daily News Egypt`` had perverted and inverted the reality of the interview conducted by Getachew and the Saudi, London-based newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. Blind to the truth, the Egyptian Daily News reported that Getachew had said Ethiopia had finalized 70 percent of construction of the GERD. Is this credible? Absolutely Not!! The fact is what had been expressed by Al-Sharq Al-Awsat as it has been mentioned above.
To prove Egyptian media misquoting and distorting GCAO’s Minister briefing, Egyptian embassy in Addis Ababa had stated that it had obtained comment from Getachew that the statements attributed to him are not accurate. The embassy had also confirmed that Ethiopia is committed to the declaration of principles signed with Egypt and Sudan regarding the Renaissance Dam.
In this era of space age technology, Egyptian media are doggedly reporting that the dam could reduce Egypt’s quota of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile water which was allocated by the Faustian agreement of British colonizers, Egypt and Sudan in 1959. It is to be remembered regrettably that the horse-trading colonial agreement had allocated lion’s share of the water to Egypt, while Egypt is rain-deficient downstream country that does not add water to the volume of Nile(contrary to Ethiopia that contributes close to 90 percent of the Nile through its trans-boundary rivers).
Some Egyptian media have been laboring for a long time to intentionally bend facts about Nile, enhance sham awareness and prevent Ethiopia from utilizing the Nile water, particularly for irrigation(despite most media houses that report facts correctly). These media houses have been glued to the belief that their country would be exposed to danger if Ethiopia started to use waters of the Nile. Hence, Egyptian media wanted to inculcate wrong attitude on the Nile ``I win if you lose``, which is typical of zero sum game.
Nevertheless, following the downfall of the Hosni Mubarak-led Egyptian regime, whether it liked it or not, Egypt has tried to make a bit change on its stand related to Nile water and it has tried to participate in various discussions and cooperation forums. The new era has opened new chapter of cooperation to Ethiopia and Egypt. Since then, these countries have been trying to resolve their long standing dispute over the use of Nile water and have established a technical committee to assess the possible impacts of the Dam.
Even though some Egyptian media are used to distorting what is real related the GERD, nation is expressing its unwavering stand that the spirit of cooperation emanates from its foreign relation policy which is built on the bed rock foundation of peaceful-coexistence and mutual cooperation. Accordingly, nation is visionary to foster the GERD in to Nile cooperation, regional integration and development.
Ethiopia has been adamantly stressing on the fact that lasting solution to the Nile impasse may be devised through accomplishment of activities that could enhance the prevalence of peace in the region and strengthening Nile cooperation and development. The two countries have to cooperate to resolve problems by strengthening infrastructure development in the region, enhance peaceful-coexistence and cultural exchange of people. Unlike some Egyptian media, efforts should be exerted to enhance the common understanding of people, bolster cultural-exchange, trade and regional integration.
Particularly, Ethiopia is interested to develop Nile Cooperation in to regional integration and economic development. As part of big leap forward to burgeon trust and mutual cooperation between countries of the Nile basin, Egyptian media shall refrain from perverting facts about Nile Cooperation and the reality in connection with Ethiopia. Egypt should also quit its obsolete jingoism and accept the new trend of cooperation on Nile with Ethiopia and other upper riparian countries.
To enhance mutual cooperation and integration through regional development, unheeding Egyptian media (and politicians) should cast out their bigotry and refrain from disseminating unfounded remarks about the GERD and Ethiopia.
The tireless call and invitation being offered to Egyptian people is that the GERD is being built only for the purpose of power generation which could not incur significant impact on the amount of water flowing to Egypt (Ethiopia is time after time reaffirming the very fact of cooperation and the construction of the GERD being carried out based on the Helsenki rule of insignificant impact and equitable use of trans-boundary Nile water for the common benefit of all people in the region).