“KILLING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE”
of our lifelong poverty, our right to use our rivers has been blocked up to
now. But, now thanks to the dedication of our people, we are crossing into an
era where we can realize our millennium project through the millennium dam.”
visionary leader Ato Meles Zenawi
visionary Prime Minister gave this speech on the day; he laid the cornerstone
for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Looking back through the last two
years, I can’t help but feel his vision of starting a country-wide renaissance
through the building of the GERD is coming alive. Because it’s obvious the
momentous significance the construction has, as it symbolize both our country’s
right and capability to utilize its own God given resources.
can name two instances which can confirm my statement. The first is Ethiopia’s
courageous act of exercising its right to utilize the river, which until now
had been regarded as the downstream countries sole property and a bit of a
taboo. The Second has to do with what the dam implies. It heralds the era in
which Ethiopia; thanks to the last nine years successive economic development,
can self-finance a project to utilize/divert Nile River and prove the doubters
wrong in the process. Initiating the GERD construction, for one shows our right
to use our water resources; and also showed to the rest of the world, our
ability & capacity of undertaking huge projects- ‘killing two birds with
it’s well documented, the colonial-era agreements on use of
the Nile River waters
of 1929 and 1959 had been used as sort of vanguard to their interests.
Considering its serious consequence, the riparian countries could not even
contemplate the thought of utilizing the River, let alone actually doing it,
which in turn made the subject a taboo (untouchable). Even though Egypt’s continuous
claim of a’ historical right’ on the river and of the inability of the rest of
the basin countries to exercise their right on the water; as a token of
Egyptian impasse, gave the impression to consider the river as Egypt’s ‘wealth’,
a call for a more just, rational and equitable sharing of the river had to be
echoed by the upstream countries- cause ‘nothing stays the same’.
known Ethiopia’s stance and frustration with regards to the 1929 colonial-era
treaty and the 1959 Egypt–Sudan agreement, including the treaty’s unjust
nature. It’s painfully as obvious as the morning sun, the invalidity of an
agreement or treaty signed by only two member countries out of a possible
number of countries (riparian/littoral).
the matter, this query of the upstream countries left unheard especially from
the corner of the Egyptians. The inviolability of the obsolete colonial-times
treaty, mustered with threats had been thrown back until now. Recently, this
intimidation has shifted towards Ethiopia, as the rest of the world witnessed.
But, what the Egyptians should understand (know) is that the days when Ethiopia
compromised its national interest are long gone; and it’s principle of a ‘just
& equitable benefit’ would not be undermined. Since it’s a case of ‘playing
dumb’, these Mubarak-era nostalgic Egyptian politicians are well aware of Ethiopia’s
stance & position, so it would be unnecessary to have more say on the
it’s my opinion; as former colonialist are now issuing an apology for all their
mischief and paying hefty sums in damages, Egypt should stop referring to the
colonial-times-vested sole proprietorship and issue a public apology for the upstream
countries who long have missed out (on the benefit). Other than this citing outdated
& unacceptable 19th century treaties and provisions as appoint
of reasoning is not adequate. Cause still claiming for those antique treaties,
is as the same as calling for the continuation of Britain’s colonial administration.
And this is unthinkable to refer to 200 years old setting in today’s civilized
and modern world.
readers, It’s a well known fact that although Ethiopia -East Africa’s water
tower- is endowed with many rivers capable of generating electricity and easily
accessible for irrigation, it’s right to use this natural resources had been hindered
til’ now. The backbreaking poverty the country was in and previous government’s
limited outlook can be blamed for that.
establishing a popular democratic system in which it’s people consented to live
together and where social justice reigns; the FDRE government‘s vision to put
Ethiopia out of poverty ridden country into middle income status through
subscribing policies and strategies which guarantee the public equal share of
the spoil (benefit), allowed it to successfully bypass these two obstacles (that
had hindered our country’s aspiration). With this and masterful diplomatic finessing,
the government is working on securing our inalienable right to use our own water
resources (which had been a monkey on the back for Ethiopians).
the other hand, it’s not surprising to see Egyptian government officials dwelling
on their passé ‘historical right’, as they have worked on subverting upstream
countries out of their lawful share for years. However, ‘Today is not yesterday’;
Ethiopia is having double-digit growth culminating to a point and place where
it wouldn’t need to compromise, its rightful share of the waters.
government’s all–encompassing transformational undertakings and the public’s
growing commitment to development have been guarantees to sustainable and
regional benefits for all involved. This pledge further shows the state of
decay ‘isolationist’ and ‘non-mutual’ attitude and view are in.
is why Ethiopia is continually stressing changing the antique colonial–era
treaty with the modern and democratic ‘Entebbe’s cooperation framework
agreement’ (CFA), is not up for discussion or grabs. It should be noted,
Ethiopia’s stance on the matter is strictly based on the reason that, while the
Entebbe agreement guarantees all the basin country’s equal right, the old
colonial-era treaty stand to protect one or two countries interests (of all the
second has to do with Ethiopia’s uncompromising stance on unlawful especially
colonial time’s treaties, and the fact that the Entebbe agreement is totally
well versed with International watercourses law and provision of equitable and
reasonable utilization. The country believes on the need to change the old with
the new one. Thus, Ethiopia gives recognition to the ‘Entebbe’s agreement’, on which
the majority of the upstream countries signed on, not the controversial
colonial– time’s treaty.
light with all these first of all, I think it’s better to understand Ethiopia ;
just like every other nation , has the right to use its God given water
resources to alleviate it’s people out of poverty. It’s obvious that the upstream
countries including Ethiopia has a major struggle ahead of them –in the shape
of lifting their population out of poverty. In order to come out of this
struggle on top, they must use all available resources at their disposal,
including water resources- since it’s a survival issue.
countries have all turned to their water resources to use as a precursor to guarantee
food security and provide the exigency power and economic climate for their
industries. ‘Letting Bygones be bygones’ they have been good-naturedly trying
to negotiate for equitable utilization of the river for the last twenty years. This
patient pursuit for water utilization confirms one thing that is the upstream
countries are after the principle of reciprocity when it comes to the sharing
of the river and they are not out to get anyone.
the inconsiderate colonial-epoch treaties that were beneficiary for some with
their considerable bias towards Egypt and Sudan, while ignoring and forcing the
treaty unto the other basin countries. The Entebbe agreement which is
formulated on the basis of reciprocity and sensitivity is after equitable
sharing of the river through a give-and-take approach and inclusivity - from
the river’s source (upstream) countries up to the heretofore beneficiary
a well known fact, the Egypt –Sudan –benefitting 1929 and 1959 treaties are a
long time proponents of isolationism and also forbids any other country from
using even ‘ a single drop of water’. Still, the Egyptian government is stubbornly
reflecting this same old approach.
fact is following this approach in this day and age, is like thinking as a caveman.
There were some chatter heard few some corners that this approach is directly linked
with arrogance and pity. Even though this is unlikely the case behind for this
thinking, there have been some undenying hint of that. Cause in my opinion
there have been obvious inclination towards doubting the upstream countries
capabilities, which might be fomented by the countries state of poverty resulted
from many years of hindrance sustained to use their natural including and
especially their water resources.
in all the riparian countries have been through talks and discussions to reach
a consensus of using their water resources in their quest to defeat poverty and
backwardness. As result they have come out with the cooperative framework
agreement (CFA), which will help drive Egypt and Sudan’s outrageous
isolationist paradigm to its grave. What’s more is they have reached to an
agreement based on rational and just principles to address their electric power
deficiencies, without negatively affecting other’s water quota- although, both
Egypt and Sudan rejected this fair deal up to now
stuttering our country’s development aspirations, Electric- power deficit is
being addressed by building numerous hydro-power dams. In order for this
initiation to gain momentum, Ethiopia is building Africa’s first and largest
GERD on the Nile River.
dam which its cornerstone was laid by our visionary leader Ato Meles Zenawi;
will triple the country’s power supply. In addition to this according to recent
study, when the project starts generating the expected 6000 mega watt of power,
it will gain the country up to two million euro a day for the next hundred
years. This ushers the point where this historical phenomenon ignites future
it needs to be pointed out that the GERD is being built through the Public’s full-out
participation. Due to the dams role in changing previous shackled mentality and
inversely planting ‘ It’s doable’ mentality on the public; while also serving
as a major imputes for the anti –poverty fight in addition to its ability to
pay back the public’s investment with future spoil , makes this huge
undertaking historical. But, we are not benefiting alone. We Ethiopians give
value and also is part of our identity to cooperatively live and develop .We
don’t gun for selfish ends like others. So, everybody should know the purpose
of the GERD construction is not to harm anyone; especially considering sharing and
growing hand-in-hand had been part and value of Ethiopian for a long time.
unwavering support for the Entebbe’s agreement; which is based on International
watercourses law and provision of equitable and reasonable utilization, stems
from this inherent value, while the public’s financial & labor support for
the projects emanates from the guarantee of ‘mutual benefit’ the dam provides.
It also showed the public’s strong character in the face of some water –war-
crazed Egyptian government official’s threats and rhetoric’s thrown back shortly
after the diversion phase was launched successfully.
As the saying, “If you really want to
do something, you'll find a way” goes, neighboring countries government’s
who understood the benefit of the dam not only fully supported and endorsed it
, but also fired back at Egypt’s unjust stance ( with regard to the river) .
The riparian countries did not only stop with these. They further stressed on
their equal & just right to use their own water resources by announcing
future projects waiting in the pipe line. This reiterates the humungous benefit
the dam project has on national & regional level, and also Ethiopia’s unwavering
‘mutual benefit’ position on the matter.
in light with all these, I think one question should be raised. That is “Does
the building of the GERD really hurt Egyptian interest just as their government
officials claim?” Let’s take a closer look …
it’s known, the dam’s construction takes place is constructed 20 Km from the
border of the neighboring Sudan. This Shows (illustrates) that the dam cannot
be used for irrigation purpose. So, the project purpose is to generate electrical
power in order to boost economic development, not to kill anyone with thirst, as
they claimed to be the case. It’s a known fact that hydro-electric dams are
designed in a way to generate power without compromising (wasting) a single
drop of water and to top it all, the expert team comprised out of these
countries had concluded the dam would not compromise any one’s interest and
does not have an overall significant impact instead the expert claim that the
dam will have a positive impact on the downstream countries by reducing the wastage from evaporation
which has been a serious problem for these countries. This testimony debunks
Egypt’s ‘the dam will hurt me’ stance. This begs the question, if the Egyptian
are not willing to listen to their own experts, who else are they going to
my view that the Egyptian government officials should start to understand that,
the dam do not pose any problem on the downstream countries as some jingoist
Mubarak-framed politicians would have them believe, but instead it guarantees
their respective share. Since the dam is constructed on a valley landscape, it
will have the ability to contain large quantity of water which in turn would
lessen the amount of water lost to evaporation. It will also greatly reduce the
silt and sediment load that used to affect the downstream countries, especially
their dams. In addition to this, the 6000 mega watt electric power the dam
generates (upon completion) will not only help Ethiopia but also Sudan, Egypt,
Kenya and South-Sudan, while opening an opportunity for further regional
versed with these realities, the Egyptian authorities are starting to
understand that the old argument is not sufficient anymore. So, they’re out
with a new arguing point (paradigm) in the shape of - “our water security must
be protected”. The good thing is GERD strengthen the grantee of the Egyptian share,
not weaken it. It can be challenged that this new paradigm is thrown out there
just only out of sheer frustration.
All in all, can this new approach pay its dividends- Let’s take closer look…
don’t think the Egyptian government would forget (disregard) the 4 billion
cubic meter (BCM) it wastes to the desert as a result of the over flow of the
river during summer . This clearly shows Egypt’s yearly stacked water supply –
in which more than satisfying their water needs , they have spare water to
create a ‘Garden of Eden’ in the middle of the desert. So, I don’t think a
country living in these lavish conditions should be in a position to demand ‘our
water guarantee must be confirmed’. Anyway it should be noted Ethiopia’s inalienable
right to use its own water resource, as ’mine is mine, yours is also mine’,
kind of mentality has crumbled along with the colonial epoch.
baffles the writer of this article is that Egypt’s insistence on plotting to
sabotage Ethiopia; after all these years of failure. In a grander scheme of
things, they have tried to employ some voracious opposition saboteurs in the
hopes of subverting Ethiopia aspiration of utilizing the river- with no avail. This
approach after gently sloping from government to government, it’s has now
rekindled again. The one chosen for these despicable approaches are the
so-called Ethiopian ‘Ginbot7 of Berhanu Nega and the OLF’. The ‘man after
receiving half a million dollar from Egyptian government’s lackey shabiya vowed
(claimed) far that he would accomplish his missions within short time- although
his blabber won’t be more than ‘showboating’. The other ragtag OLF has also
been seen promoting it’s pro-Egyptian stance by opposing the dam’s building.
Other than renewing their failed & worthless servitude to their masters,
both know they are not in the position to derail the GERD construction.
in all the erection of the dam heralds two things. The first is the start of an
era where Ethiopia; after years of snarl-up, started exercising it’s right on its
water resources. Secondly, Ethiopia confirmed its ability to self–finance its
own grand projects. So, sustaining these achievements is no one’s
responsibility, but the Public’s. Therefore, as were ‘killing two birds with
one store ‘, the Ethiopian people should work hand -in- hand to further fuel
the country’s renaissance.