River Nile dam: Talks fail to solve water dispute

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A major meeting on the future of Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam – currently being built on the River Nile – has ended without agreement in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

This is the fourth meeting in the latest efforts by water ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to find a resolution to the tensions over the project.

Ethiopia began construction of the mega dam in 2011 but it has been met with resistance from downstream countries especially Egypt, which relies on the Nile for 90% of its water needs.

On completion, the Grand Renaissance Dam is expected to generate more than 6,000 megawatts of electric power for Ethiopia, where currently 65% of its population is not connected to the grid.

The major sticking point is how quickly the dam should be filled.

Ethiopia wants to fill it as fast as possible as it plans to start generating power by the end of this year.

Egypt insists the pace should be slower to prevent water shortages.

The next step will be for the water ministers, along with their countries’ foreign ministers, to go to Washington next week to try and come to a deal before the deadline set last year of 15 January.


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