The GERD Challenge: How a Compromise Can Be Reached Through Cooperation

REPORT AT A GLANCE

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The GERD is an Ethiopian gravity-based hydroelectric power dam located on the Blue Nile river, near the border with Sudan. The dam project started in April 2011 and is due to open this month of July 2020. The project has cost the Ethiopian government, on some estimates, $6.84 billion US in financial investment. Once fully operational, the dam, which will be the largest in Africa and seventh largest in the world with a reservoir max-capacity of 74 billion cubic metres, is estimated to generate 6.4 gigawatts of electrical power. This power generation is a key pillar of Ethiopia’s current political strategy to cover domestic energy needs, improve its economic outlook through increased energy exports to foreign countries, and create numerous jobs for workers.

 

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

Ethiopia’s GERD project poses profound risk to Egypt and Sudan without proper safeguards.

 

The state of the current political rhetoric surrounding the GERD issue, including arbitration, is damaging and a counterproductive distraction.

 

Sufficient safeguards for all interests could be found through technical solutions, such as coordinated water release schedules and adopting dynamic release to prevent droughts.

 

Long-term issues of climate change and overpopulation will be greater threats for the future of the Nile Basin states.