7 October 2011

Djibouti: Ethiopia Pushes Vision to Be Region's Power Hub

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia and Djibouti inaugurated a 230-kV electric power transmission project that would allow Djibouti to import 35-megawatts of electricity from Ethiopia, ministry of foreign affairs said Thursday.

The inaugural ceremony was held on Wednesday in the presence Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of Djibouti as well as delegates, and ambassadors from various countries.

Built with 1.5 billion Birr (87 million USD) cost, the 363 km long Ethiopia-Djibouti electric power transmission line will meet over 60% of Djibouti's power demand. Ethiopia in return would gain up to $1.5 million a month from the power export.

"The inauguration of the Ethiopia-Djibouti power line project is another milestone in the process of regional economic integration in general and the two sisterly countries in particular" said Prime Minister Meles Zenawi during the launching ceremony held in Djibouti on Wednesday.

Meles said there are other massive infrastructural projects the two nations hope to jointly carry out.

"In addition to the traditional railway link the two countries have had for years, we have planned to extend fiber and microwave connections between the two countries thereby to further promote their bilateral cooperation in various aspects" he added.

President Ismail Omar Guelleh, said "the successful inauguration of the interconnection is the first in a series of shared projects between the two countries".

He added that the power supply from Ethiopia will significantly ease power shortages in his country. He reiterated his country would further strengthen ties with Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is currently undertaking multi-billion dollar investment in hydro-electric projects.

Ethiopian power corporation manager, Mihret Debebe, recently said that the country has plans to build four more hydroelectric dams on the Nile River as part of the ambition to become a regional power hub.

Construction of a $4.7 billion hydropower project along the Nile River near the border with Sudan was launched recently.

Ethiopia also has plans to sell electricity to other neighboring countries including Sudan, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan.

When Ethiopia finishes its numerous power projects, the country could make electricity rather than coffee its biggest export.

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