25 September 2012

Ethiopia: No Compromise on Grand Renaissance Dam Construction

Addis Ababa — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Ethiopia would never halt or slow the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam due to external challenges and related pressures.

In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Ministry Spokesperson Ambassador Dina Mufti said that though speculations, comments and suggestions have been high, Ethiopia would never hesitate to halt or slow down pace of the dam's construction.

It is a matter of survival and development, he noted.

Dina says there is a common stance with the neighbouring countries over the issue of construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam. "There have been and hopefully would be consensuses, full agreement between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Hence, since the construction of the dam brings no harm to any neighbouring states, nothing could happen."

There is no reason to slow or halt the construction as it is underway fully with the nation's financial expense, he remarked. Construction of the dam is part the country's core aim to develop and become a middle-income economy. It hugely enables to fill the gap in energy demand and undertake various industrial projects. Though there may be various interests from different bodies, nothing has happened on the ground so far, Ambassador Dina said.

No one should expect that Ethiopia perhaps would stop the dam construction as it will not happen since it is underway with full consent of all citizens irrespective of political and social differences, he underlined.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg, recently issued a news stating that the International Monetary Fund (IMF ) has urged Ethiopia to slow construction of the dam to protect the economy.

However, via the press release sent to the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) the IMF said it has no expertise to judge particular projects, including the Grand Renaissance Dam. The press release states the organization did not provide any advice to the government to slow down the construction. "The IMF did not urge the government to slow down the implementation of any particular project, as it is entirely a decision made by the Ethiopian government."

The IMF has stressed on the importance of macroeconomic stability for economic growth and the need to ensure that the pace of overall infrastructure investment is consistent with it, the press release noted.

It further indicated that in this context, the organization has raised concerns on the planned rapid expansion of public investment which will translate into a large financing need in the coming years. "With several large projects expected to be financed either fully or partially from domestic sources, we have cautioned against crowding out of the private sector, which will slow down growth."

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