Addis Ababa, April 17 (IANS) Ethiopia has begun constructing the country’s biggest power project on the Nile that will be built totally by local engineers and technicians. It will benefit not only Ethiopia but also the neighbouring countries of Sudan and Egypt.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi laid the foundation stone of the dam termed the ‘Ethiopian Renascence’. The dam when completed will generate 5,250 MW of electricity. The reservoir will be the tenth biggest man-made lake in the world, the Ethiopian embassy in New Delhi said in a statement.
The dam would also be funded totally by the Ethiopian government. The estimated cost is 3.3 billion euros.
Experts have said the dam would not only help Ethiopia fight poverty but also strengthen solidarity and ensure sustainable economic development for all the three countries, including Sudan and Egypt.
Prime Minister Zenawi said the project was rightly called the ‘Millennium Dam’. ‘It is the largest dam we could build at any point along the Nile, or indeed any other river,’ he said.
After completion, the dam is expected to hold 67 billion cubic metres of water – almost twice the size of Lake Tana, a natural lake that only reaches 32 billion cubic metres at its peak.
The dam will create the largest man-made lake in Ethiopia and will also provide opportunities for fishery cultivation, the prime minister said.
The project will play a major role towards eradication of poverty, he said.
‘When the Millennium Dam becomes operational, communities all along the river banks, particularly in Sudan, will be permanently relieved from centuries of flooding,’ he said.
The dam will increase the amount of water resources available, reducing wastage from evaporation, which has been a serious problem in the mentioned countries, he said.