Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
Eight years ago, when Ethiopia announced its bold decision to build the biggest possible dam on the Nile River, to which it contributes 86Pct of the water volume, with financing from domestic resources, the issue grabbed global headlines. Despite considerable consternation in Egypt and Sudan, the country was able to embark on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will be the largest hydropower plant in Africa, and the seventh globally upon completion.
Seven years later, however, the Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC), the contractor for the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure work on the project, became a focus of controversy amid allegations of delay, corruption, resource wastage and all sorts of mismanagement. The controversies have since put the GERD on the spotlight; and many even doubted the completion of the project. This was further complicated with the untimely death of Simengew Beleke (Eng.), manager of the project who was found dead of a gunshot wound on July 26, 2018, at Meskel Square, Addis Ababa.
Last year, the government cancelled all the contracts awarded to MetEC and signed contracts with five Chinese, French, and German companies to undertake the electro mechanical works. With this, the government seeks to start the project with a fresh schedule and finish the project in 2022, six years after its initially planned year of completion. However, there are still uncertainties over the finalization of the grand project. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale, who visited the game-changing power project, reports.