(Gosaye Feyissa: ENA)
Since 1991, Ethiopia has been striving to bring fundamental changes in the economic structure of the country and ensure equity and benefit of the public through various economic reforms.
To bring development, the government formulated a long term economic development strategy called, Agricultural Development Led-Industrialization (ADLI) which is geared towards sustained and accelerated economic transformation. ADLI is a two-pronged strategy geared towards incorporating export-based agricultural development to ascertain forward and backward linkages between agriculture and industry.
The policies and strategies that were instrumental in promoting agriculture led industrialization by utilizing the basic economic potentials of the country includes land, productive population and other natural resources.
The commitment of the government in preparing the ground work for rapid economic growth and industrialization prompted the development of natural resources, particularly the rivers that are flowing for centuries without any benefit to communities. Ethiopia has a potential for around 45,000 MW of hydropower. A number of hydro power dams constructed on rivers.
The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in which its cornerstone was laid by late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in April 2011, is among the initiatives launched by the government to develop rivers, so as to build hydro power infrastructures.
With the launch of the project, senior citizens of the nation lived to see the fulfillment of a vision which was actually considered as a fantasy several years back. The youth in the country have been able to be part of this unforgettable undertaking in which the current generation has been fortunate enough to make history. Ethiopians and Ethiopian citizens living abroad put their fingerprint of cooperation for the realization of the long ambition of the country.
The nationwide unprecedented public mobilization and sensitization conducted over the last couple of years is a reminder of the Battle of Adwa in which the entire social stratum of the country participate to maintain the territorial integrity of the country, Project Manager Eng. Simegnew Bekele said.
The current generation has been able to enjoy peace and stability maintained by our forefathers and this generation is expected to shoulder their responsibility to accelerate the development programs in the country, Simegnew added.
“This project sets a stage in which we can hope for bright future and join hands to convert our dreams into a reality”, he said.
The GERD is a standing memorabilia for the current generation which is obliged to pass on to their children and grand children as a historic monument making it a gift of the current generation to the future inheritors of the country, the manager noted.
The broad based development activities in building mega projects in hydro power, railway, road, sugar, fertilizers, cement and other ongoing and completed infrastructural developments is aimed at creating a sustainable livelihood for the citizens.
The dam would highly contribute to the efforts of government towards alleviating poverty by meeting the energy needs of the country.
The people of Ethiopia, known for its peacefulness and hospitality is now exerting maximum efforts in unison to finalize the multi-billion dollar mega project being built along the Nile.
The dam with an installed power generating capacity of 6000 MW, upon fully operational in 2017, is expected to increase the installed generation capacity of the country to 10,000 MW.
Committed to develop its rivers, the country has set target in its five year plan to increase generation capacity to over 17,000 MW by 2020, with an overall potential of 35,000 MW by 2037, which would help sustain Ethiopia’s continued economic growth and enable it to become a regional renewable energy hub in East Africa.
Furthermore, it is planned to sell power to neighboring countries to ensure mutual benefits and cooperation and to create power integration among the neighboring countries and beyond.
The grand project, which created jobs for 11, 000 youth and 350 expatriates, created a huge wave of public mobilization and a sense of “yes we can”, as the project is financed locally.
Some of the youth working in the project site said they are delighted to contributing to the largest dam in Africa and have narration of the project.
For Esubalew Tesfaye, Quality Control Engineer from Salini Impregilo, being part of the Grand Renaissance Dam is a great experience.
“Being part of such a huge project at my age is making me happy and it is historical,” he said.
Amarech Geremu, General Mechanic Fabrication (GMF) at METEC sharing the above idea said “I am delighted to participate in the project; I will get satisfaction and relief personally for working for the benefit of my country”.
The dam, which will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, is also attracts hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian visitors.
Some 200,000 people drawn from across the country and representatives of many international media institutions were visited the project, which is well underway.
Colonel Mulu Woldegebriel, Deputy Director-General of Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), which is undertaking the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure work for the project, said the project created a huge wave of public mobilization in the country.
The government and the public have pledged to complete the project with a motto that displays their readiness to realize the project with local resources, ‘we are the engineers, we are the source of finance for the project and we are the coordinator of the project’.
The grand dam is enabling the nation to realize the slogan of ensuring mutual benefit from word to meaningful action, he said.
The GERD, in which its construction is estimated to cost a total of 4.7 billion USD is being funded by government bonds and private donations comprises from child to elder; poor to wealthy and living home and abroad.
Out of the total 12.4 billion Birr pledged by the public for the construction of the dam, close to 8.8 billion Birr was collected till the end of 2008 fiscal year.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is constructing in Benishangul- Gumuz Regional State, 830 km from Addis Ababa in the north-west direction.
The dam, in which its construction has progressed to over 54 percent, will ensure the beneficiary of Ethiopians as well as riparian countries with mutual beneficiary and cooperation.