Ethiopia: GERD - Matter of Sovereignty

For Ethiopians, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has a special meaning that goes beyond the purpose of ensuring development and improving living standards. The Dam has an intrinsic value in that it is yet another event in the country's history and assures Ethiopia's continuous existence as a unified state. In relation to this, its significance has also to do with the country's sovereignty.

Obviously, as has been witnessed, the issue of the Blue Nile, locally called Abay, has been the issue of sovereignty to Ethiopia. Most of the foreign aggressions and the conflicts that it encountered over the years, one way or another, relate to the issue of the Nile. The country's inability to utilize the Nile, has for long, significantly harmed its strength as a united country.

Some in Egypt have been of the opinion that a united and strong Ethiopia would undertake development activities along the Nile and left no stone unturned to destabilize Ethiopia and prevent it from undertaking any development activity along the Nile. And they have been doing everything they can to fuel conflicts by involving in Ethiopia's internal affairs. This, not only posed a threat to Ethiopia's aspiration to development but also its sovereignty and unity. Hence, it would be a mistake to associate the Dam only with its economic benefits.

True, Ethiopia has to significantly boost the supply of water, power and other development infrastructure in order to meet its rising demand and ensure sustainable development. Unless the country addresses basic socio-economic issues, it would find itself in a very precarious situation because of the exponential population growth it has been experiencing. If the country couldn't respond to the questions of the new generation, it wouldn't be in the position to ensure its continuous existence.

The rising demand for jobs and livelihood options would cause internal strife. Being a major player in the region (Horn of Africa) in terms of ensuring peace and stability, the effect would not only be limited to Ethiopia but spread to the already turbulent region of the Horn.

The major source of all the plight of Ethiopia is its inability to properly exploit its natural resources for development, particularly the Nile waters. Now, Ethiopians are in a very critical phase of history as they are in the verge of changing this reality once and for all. Hence, Ethiopians have given all their blood, sweat, and tears to construct the largest hydropower project in Africa and they are eagerly waiting for the filling to start in July. The construction of GERD is in its final stage as it has surpassed 74 per cent, despite a continuous resistance and sabotage from the side of Egypt. Unfortunately, Egypt is still trying to disturb the filling of the Dam despite Ethiopia's call for a win-win solution.

In its negotiation, the government is taking this issue of sovereignty into consideration. It, by no means, would enter any agreement that compromises Ethiopia's natural rights to use its resources and the sovereignty of the next generation. Egypt intends to infringe Ethiopia's sovereignty on the issue of GERD but Ethiopia will not let that happens.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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