By Lulsegged Abebe GERD Phase II 8 April 21
Ethiopia started the construction of GERD in 2011 with resources mobilized from Ethiopians in
the country, the diaspora, and friends of Ethiopia. Most Ethiopians including those who are
struggling to make ends meet have made financial contributions (sacrifices) towards the
construction of the dam. Despite the hardship at the construction site, over 8000 professionals,
and casual Ethiopians work around the clock, 24 hours a day seven days a week. During the
construction, Ethiopia lost her daughters and sons including Engineer Simegnew Bekele the first
Manager of GERD, an icon associated with the dam. Ethiopians have an extraordinarily strong
link to the dam as some have sacrificed their lives and most have invested from their meagre
resources (livelihoods). Ethiopians are determined and waiting to see the completion of the
The dam is a source of hope, light1 (as it generates electricity) and development to the
people as a means to improve their livelihoods. GERD would also benefit the East African
region enabling better regional integration, creating job opportunities for the youth through
industrialization and providing cheap green electricity/energy to the neighboring countries2 once
connected to the electricity grid.
The construction of GERD has shown tremendous progress despite the challenges. Currently
only 20 percent of the work remains to finalize the construction and start full scale operation.
1 The distribution of electricity in Ethiopian households is extremely low, more than 60% of the rural
population does not have access to electricity. Thus, most Ethiopians use firewood for cooking, which
continues to deplete forests. The depletion of forests has a negative impact in the environment.
2 This philosophy of the Ethiopian government is consistent to “Aspiration 1: A prosperous Africa based
on inclusive growth and sustainable development” of Agenda 2063.
When the dam becomes fully operational, it will produce about 6.7 megawatts of electricity,
which will help integrate countries in the Horn of Africa and become a source of green energy.
The first filling was completed last year, and the reservoir now has 4.9 million cubic meters of
water without affecting the two downstream countries, Sudan, and Egypt. Despite this,
substantial unfounded claims were made by the two countries that the filling of the dam will
negatively impact them. The second phase will take place later this year and will involve
holding 13.5 billion cubic meters of water. This will take place during the rainy season in
Ethiopia, when the rivers will swell because of the rains. As usual the second filling will not
affect the two downstream countries. Even though it is a well-established fact that the second
filling of the dam will not negatively impact the two downstream countries, and they are well
aware of that, they seem to be in denial of the fact and do not want to accept.
The negotiation processes under the auspices of the AU are going on though it has been
bumpy and lagging as the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan continue to change their
positions, issue provocative statements3, stick to the concept of a “historical rights”, “binding
agreement” which is linked to colonial treaties and agreements. Lately, one of the contentious
issues, the inclusion of EU, UN, and USA as mediators, which undermines the AU and is against Article 10 of the Declaration of Principle (DoP)4
: “[t]he Three countries will settledisputes, arising out of the interpretation or implementation of this agreement, amicably through
consultation or negotiation in accordance with the principle of good faith. If the Parties are
unable to resolve the dispute through consultation or negotiation, they may jointly request for
conciliation, mediation or refer the matter for the consideration of the Heads of
State/Head of Government.” (emphasis added)
GERD is a symbol of development and success for Ethiopians as the Great Aswan Dam is to
national liberation and the establishment of political and economic structure for Egypt.
We are proud of all our sisters and brothers who work around the clock, seven days a week
uncomfortable working conditions on the construction site; the negotiation team and the
volunteers who tirelessly work in promoting GERD and create awareness, counter the negative
propaganda and misinformation about GERD. We appreciate and thank members of the
diaspora and friends of Ethiopia who stand with the people of Ethiopia during the negative
GERD, though built on Ethiopian soil; it is the pride of Africa and is designed to lighten the Horn
of Africa with green energy which reduces carbon emission (climate change) and integrates the
region. GERD is an African landmark and a success story.
3 Egypt issues second warning to Ethiopia amid dam deadlock | Al Arabiya English
4 The Declaration of Principle was signed by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan in Khartoum, Sudan on 23
Among the Nile basin countries,according to the SDG7 (access to affordable, reliable,
sustainable and modern for all) 2019 report, 99.7 percent of the population of the Egypt has
access to electricity while it is only 46.7 per cent in Ethiopia, 47.3 percent Sudan, 28.9 percent
Uganda, 1.1 percent South Sudan, etc. GERD will have a huge impact on Ethiopia’s
development, as electricity generated from the dam will light rural and urban homes, provide
energy for household cooking and other uses, supply cheap power to the industrial sectors
which will attract big manufacturing industries to the region, would create job opportunities, and
generate income to the country by selling the surplus, bringing much needed foreign exchange.
The dam is expected to start full operation in 2023, and it will be filled over a period of time as
will be agreed during the tripartite negotiation under the auspices of the AU. Per the DoP, the
second filling will take place as planned, the government is determined to hold additional 13.5
billion cubic meters of water which will help to test the two turbines and generate electricity. The
second filling as confirmed by experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will not affect the two
In order to achieve this plan, the Ethiopian government needs financial support and a public
diplomacy campaign. We must stand with the government of Ethiopia, the compatriots working
on the site and provide them with the means to complete GERD which is a lifeline, and the
future for the people of Ethiopia.
1. To mobilize financial and human resources (raise funds) for the completion of GERD.
2. To recognize and provide moral and psychological support for the people working on
3. To inform the international community, members of the Ethiopian diaspora and friends
of Ethiopia about the relevance of GERD to the people of Ethiopia and the region
1. Organize fundraising events. Reach out to members of the Ethiopian diaspora and
friends of Ethiopia for donations financially or in kind, buy bonds, etc.
2. Organize a series of webinars on GERD negotiation processes, the progress on the
construction of the dam and the financial needs to complete the dam.
3. Produce and circulate flyers, posters, and short video clips about GERD to increase
awareness on the significance of GERD to Ethiopia, Africa and its positive impact on
the environment and climate change.
4. Using social media, run a one-week intensive fundraising campaign, gift giving, etc.
5. Write letters to governments and MPs informing them about GERD, the filling
processes, the negotiation, its mitigation role in climate change, etc.
1. Resources will be mobilized for the completion of GERD.
2. Site workers will be recognized for their dedication to the completion of GERD.
3. Friends of Ethiopia, the international communities and the Ethiopian diaspora will be
informed about GERD, its relevance to Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan (Africa)
4. Compliment the negotiation processes as they pursue the “good faith” and “equitable
share without harming anybody” principles.
To be confirmed
Evangelical Alliance, GKEN,
Lulsegged Abebe GERD Phase II 8 April 21