December 03/2021 (ENA) The completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will stimulate the country’s overall economic activities and make Ethiopia a geopolitical power of Africa, a water expert said.
Hawassa University Water Supply and Environmental Engineering lecturer, Mihret Dananto told ENA that GERD will highly stimulate the overall economy of the country by covering the power supply gap and increasing power export earnings which will eventually make Ethiopia a geopolitical power of Africa.
“Less than 5 percent of Ethiopians living in the rural areas get electricity and this highly affects economic activities,” he said, adding that although over 51 percent of urban areas get electric supply, industries and factories are facing power shortage and waiting for electricity to go fully operational with full capacity.
According to him, Ethiopia is using less than 2,100 MW. The addition of over 6,000 MW hydroelectric power to be obtained from GERD will therefore fulfill domestic needs and increase the country’s electric power export potential.
He further noted that GERD will provide the country with sufficient and sustainable electric supply for at least the coming 50 to 100 years.
“Hydroelectric power is clean, affordable, socially friendly, economically sustainable and technically acceptable,” he added.
Ethiopia’s natural gift as a water tower in East Africa is a great comparative advantage to produce clean, environmentally friendly, economically sustainable and technically acceptable hydroelectric power through cheaper investment, the expert stated.
Mihret said the completion of GERD will also make Ethiopia a tower of geopolitics not only in East Africa but also Africa.
“We are still called the water tower of Africa and we are practically manifesting that via developing GERD,” Mihret said.
He further stated that the over 6,000MW hydroelectric power to be produced from GERD with the other installed electric power capacity will effectively stimulate the overall economic activity of the country.
“The hydro-dam will enable us to get over 1 billion USD per year on average, and this will increase the income of each Ethiopian by 10 USD. The aggregate electric power potential will also fulfill the required electric power capacity in Ethiopia and stimulate industries and its economic benefit is enormous.”
The construction of GERD has now jumped over 80 percent and is expected to partially commission hydro-electric power production soon.
Experts estimate the hydropower potential of Ethiopia up to 45,000 MW and the second highest in the continent.