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Egypt confronts water ‘poverty’ in shadow of Ethiopia’s dam

Grand Renaissance Dam would be seventh-largest in the world and Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant

Anxiety over water is growing in Egypt as Ethiopian leaders press forward with plans to build a massive dam that officials here fear will block the flow of the Blue Nile.

Addis Ababa started construction of the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2011 when Egypt’s leaders were consumed with the Arab Spring uprising that ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Slated for completion in 2022 — four years behind schedule — the $4.8-billion-dollar dam would be the seventh-largest dam in the world and Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. That makes it a priority for Ethiopian leaders despite the worries of downriver countries that depend heavily on the Nile.

“It’s one of the most important flagship projects for Ethiopia,” said Seleshi Bekele, the country’s minister of water, irrigation and electricity.


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