Ethiopia refuses to halt GIBE III dam

Ethiopia will continue to build Gibe III despite different accusations, CEO of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) told the English weekly Addis Fortune.

CEO Meheret Debebe made the remark in response to the call by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committeeto immediately halt all construction on the GIBE III dam’, in its 35th session held from June 19-29. The decision became public when the Committee published its documents three weeks ago and was thoroughly reviewed in this blog.

The CEO was quoted as saying:

The positive impact on the ground, which is revealed by the social and environmental impact studies, should be judged against different externalities that can result from the construction of the dam.

With regard to Kenya, the CEO noted that ‘Ethiopia has extensive institutional, professional and governmental forums with Kenya to discuss about different issues concerning the dam project.’Gibe III

He also remarked that ‘other entities outside Kenya who are behind the campaign against the dam, which refuse to give up their fervour against the construction of the dam.’

A public relations officer of EEPCo dismissed the statements by the World Heritage Committee as "baseless" and paralleled it to the previous accusations by different international non-governmental groups. He underlined that:

“No matter what is reported, the project will continue, and financing to the project is certain as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has provided 470 million dollars, and the remaining might be covered by Ethiopia.”

However, the government failed to clarify or deny its reckless handling of the matter in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee proceedings, which was explained in this blog two weeks ago.

EEPCO claimed 46pc of the project has been completed and the government covered 40 percent of the costs so far. The Gibe III dam project, with about 1,870 MW installed power generation capacity, is scheduled to be operational by September 2013. EEPCO’s annual plan indicates 49% of the project was supposed to be completed by June 2011.

Check the Gibe III dam Archive for previous and upcoming posts.

Daniel Berhane

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