For all of the promising talk about African continental integration and co-operation and the benefits of a nascent African Continental Free Trade Area, walking it is apparently a far tougher reality, especially when critical national resources and interests are perceived to be at stake. Such is currently the story of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
By early 2021, one of Africa's largest infrastructure projects, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), will begin producing electricity as the decade-long project finally begins to boost the regional energy supply on a large scale.
Ethiopia's Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr Seleshi Bekele, said in an exclusive interview this month with The Brenthurst Foundation: "Early generation with two turbines will commence next year. It starts generating in 2020 or at the beginning of 2021 at the latest. So, we are going to store the first stage this coming rainy season in July/August and start operating the two turbines beginning of next year."
The Blue Nile flows downstream towards Sudan as cement trucks sit parked in the foreground at the site of the under-construction Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia.