South Africa-Egypt-Ethiopia

Egypt "optimistic" about Nile dam talks breakthrough

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

Egypt is optimistic that an amicable agreement will be reached next week regarding the Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River, Egyptian Ambassador Issa Sharriff said on Thursday.

Egypt and neighbours Ethiopia and Sudan are at loggerheads over the nearly completed dam which Addis Ababa started in 2011.

Historically Egypt, as a British colony, was given the largest percentage share to use the Nile waters, and Cairo claims that Ethiopia started building the dam without consultations with it.

“Egypt is willing to find a peaceful solution and also a win-win solution for this problem,” Sharriff said.

He added: “We are working hard with Ethiopia and Sudan.  But we also need the people and the world to know that the River Nile for Egypt is a matter of life as 97% percent of our water is coming from this river.”

At stake among the neighbours are the technicalities of the filling and operation of the dam to ensure water and electricity for arid Egypt during droughts -- and electricity to power Ethiopia’s pressing industrial aspirations.

The three nations reached a brokered preliminary agreement earlier this week in Washington DC (United States) with a final deal expected to be signed on 28-29 January.

The dam is expected to be the largest in Africa, with a capacity to generate a massive 6,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity.

This power is expected, not only to relieve Ethiopia’s energy shortage, but to boost the country’s ambitious industrialisation programme.

NM/jn/APA

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