| 2 October 2023, Monday |

Egypt angry as Ethiopia fills Nile dam reservoir amid water row

Egypt has expressed its displeasure when Ethiopia declared that the reservoir of the extremely contentious Blue Nile hydropower scheme has been full.

Since the project’s inception in 2011, Ethiopia has been at odds with Egypt and Sudan. Egypt gets virtually all of its water from the Nile.

According to Egypt’s foreign ministry, Ethiopia is ignoring the concerns of downstream nations.

Ethiopia claims that the $4.2 billion (£3.4 billion) project will not reduce its share of Nile water.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the successful completion of the fourth and final filling of the Renaissance Dam,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wrote on the social media platform X, previously Twitter.

He admitted the project had faced “internal and external obstacles” but “we endured all that”. The dam began generating electricity in February 2022.

Ethiopia believes the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) will double the country’s electricity output, providing a vital development boost, as currently half the 127-million population lacks electricity.

The plan is to generate more than 6,000 MW at the dam, which is about 30km (19 miles) from Ethiopia’s border with Sudan.

Egypt and Sudan argue that common rules for the operation of Gerd must be agreed, fearing that energy-hungry Ethiopia may exacerbate their existing water shortages.

Negotiations over the project resumed last month, having been suspended in 2021.

Sudan – currently mired in fighting between rival armies – did not immediately react to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s announcement on Sunday.