Ethiopia: GERD, a Showcase for Domesticating CRGES Into Agenda 2063 and SDG

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (file photo).

The construction of GERD and the first phase of filling the dam may be perceived as a national project that is strictly confined to the national development program of the country. Given the principal objectives of the four pillars of the CRGES which include promoting modern agriculture, forestry technology, advanced technology in industry, transport and construction, utilization of GERD as a renewable hydroelectric power sources effectively synchronizes with the vision, objectives and goals of Agenda 2063 and the SDG. Therefore, GERD was originally not meant for partially meeting the needs of a single country that builds the dam but to meet Africa's clean energy needs that is cheaper and healthier.

Agenda 2063 as a socio-economic strategy for Africa over a period of five decades primary focuses on ensuring environmentally sustainable and climate resilient economies, bio-diversity, conservation and sustainable natural resource management, water security, climate-resilience and a natural disaster preparedness, modern agriculture for increased productivity and production sets a regional policy compliance for Ethiopia's larger development programs in which GERD will be used as a conveyor belt for sustainable energy resource across the region.

One should therefore consider the major comparative development advantages that the completion of GERD could inject into the implementation of the lofty goals for which the African development agenda has been issued. Such perspective would help not only for the smooth flow of the ongoing negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan and their prospective agreements could best serve not only the economic interests of the three countries but would also promote regional cooperation and economic integration that is one of the core strategies of Agenda 2063.

In commissioning the CRGES and striving for its implementation in the national context in the Ten Years Indicative plan, Ethiopia is already pioneering in effectively blending the Agenda 2063 and SDG even before it the latter was issued by the AU. The entire content of the CRGES also shows the practical strategy for economic integration in the spirit of Pan Africanism and not for greedy national interest on which the Egyptian negotiators continuously focus on stalling the widely needed agreement that promotes equity on the use of the waters of River Abay.

Here it is interesting to note the recent visit paid by Sudanese investors for a feasibility study on developing tourism in Ethiopia as a gesture of promoting public-private partnership in the hitherto unexploited sector.

Agricultural development is one of the cross cutting sector in the CRGES, Agenda 2063 and the SDG. The completion of GERD provides ample opportunities for the private sector to engage in fishery development and lakeside farming practices not only for local consumption but for exports through value added efforts. Agenda 2063 particularly gives greater priority to agriculture while the CRGES puts it as one of the pillars of the Ethiopian Climate Change Resilient Green Economy Strategy.

The Ethiopian Government is embarking on irrigation development over the next 10 years by developing more than 30 million hectares of irrigable land and this year the government is planning to engage in large and medium-scale development by developing irrigation schemes on 2 million hectares mostly in the lowland areas of the country.

The controversy over GERD is in reality a battle between selfish and egoistic claims constantly professed by Egypt and Ethiopia's firm stand on developing its water bodies as a strategy for poverty reduction in the country.

As I have tried to state in my earlier arguments, GERD provides not only an alternative source of clean energy but will also be a key additive to efforts underway for African economic integration and common market through ACfTA.

On the other hand, GERD is a project that clearly demonstrates Ethiopia's quest for collective development is enshrined in providing hydropower resource that meets the demands of growing industries in Greater Horn of Africa and beyond.

It is to be noted that self-reliance in food security is a key factor both in CRGES and Agenda 2063 which emphatically calls for modernization of agriculture and industry in Africa. GERD, therefore, provides a viable source of energy for manufacturing industries in Africa.

Acquisition of cheap renewable power source is a critical for the development manufacturing and agro-industrial sectors which will certainly be the basis for African industrialization in the foreseeable years. Therefore, Ethiopia's clean energy development program that has kicked off will help to enhance CRGES and would effectively supplement to Agenda 2063 while helping to meet SDG both at national and regional levels.

The political commitment of the Ethiopian leadership that is currently visible in the practical implementation of all the three national, regional and global programs will certainly depict Ethiopia's unswerving stance for socio-economic pan Africanism and the ultimate economic integration envisioned in the major documents of Agenda 2063.

Editor's Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The Ethiopian Herald

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