The Ethiopian Consul General in Dubai, Yibeltal Aemero Alemu, held an interview with Emirates 24|7, and online news site based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

By VM Sathish |

The Overseas Ethiopian community has been urged to become part of history by purchasing the Grand Millennium Bond, issued by the Ethiopian Government to finance the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) under construction in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River located about 40km east of Sudan.

The strategically important project for the African continent, owned by Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO), will be beneficial to Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, countries in the region and the flow of Nile water will not be disrupted in any way, said the Ethiopian Consul General in Dubai, Yibeltal Aemero Alemu. The overseas Ethiopian community is urged to purchase the Grand Millennium Bonds, denominated in 50 Dollar, and there are interest bearing and non-interest bearing bonds. The bonds are sold to Ethiopian nationals abroad and foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, he said the dam project worth $4.2 billion is one of the biggest project in Ethiopia and Africa. “We are building the great Renaissance Dam on our own without any external assistance or program. Our people here and other parts of the world are buying the bonds and we have been successfully raising the required fund for the project, which is 50 per cent complete. It is a regional project which will benefit not only Ethiopia, but Egypt and Sudan also. We are expecting a huge impact from the dam project. Ethiopia will get energy from the 6000,MW electricity generated by Nile Water in the dam used just to turn  the generator turbine. It will also help agriculture development in the region, Yibeltal said.

After generating the electricity the water will flow back,” he said, adding that Sudan will be relieved from the frequent floods caused by Nile River and countries in the region will get electricity supply for which power network is also under construction. The project construction which was started in April 2011 after the ETB80bn ($4.7bn) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract was awarded to Salini Impregilo and it is almost fifty per cent complete. 

The project is expected to be completed by July 2017. “Ethiopians everywhere have been buying the Great Millennium Dam Bonds and in the UAE too they are supporting the project, which is a prestigious project for the Renaissance of Ethiopia.” Funds for the bond can be transferred to the Commercial Bank of Ethiopian using the diplomatic missions abroad, the money transfer agents or the foreign currency account of Ethiopian banks.

The people and Government of Ethiopia are funding the project, which will not only serve Ethiopia, but Sudan and Egypt as well. The latter two countries depend on the Nile River for their water although 85% of the river flows in Ethiopia. The dam’s construction is expected to create up to 12,000 jobs. Approximately 20,000 people will be resettled during the course of the project, according to reports. The reservoir and dam will benefit Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. “Investors from Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea are also buying the bonds which is a joint project for the African region. The whole project spans an area of 1,800 sq km (695 sq miles). Once completed, in three years, it will be Africa’s largest hydropower dam, standing some 170m (558ft) tall.

“The dam will save Sudan from the flooding and a lot of water evaporation rate and save Nile water. The dam will help the optimal use of Nile water,” he said, brushing aside reports that some regional countries in the Middle East are supporting the project to gain access to Nile water. “We are more confident and positive about the project.”

Egypt has for a long time held the major ownership of the water from the Nile River and prevented Ethiopia from constructing a dam. Egypt depends on the Nile for 90% of its water needs. According to reports, a tripartite committee was formed in January 2012 to promote understanding and look into the benefits and impacts the project would have on the three countries. Aimed primarily at generating power, with an expected capacity of 6,000MW, the main and saddle dams will also create reservoirs with an impounding capacity of 74 billion cubic meters.

The minimum Bond value is 50 in Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling, Bond values of 100, 300, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000 could be purchased. In order to accommodate smaller values in Dollars, Euros and Pound Sterling, Bond Values of 5 and 10 could be purchased. For example- a 55 dollar bond will bear a 50 dollar and an additional 5 dollar value coupons, according to a document issued earlier for selling the Grand Millennium bonds. Bond purchases can be done in dollars, Pound Sterling, Euro, Swiss Franc, Riyal, Dirham, Swedish and Norwegian Kroner in addition to other foreign currency notes sold/bought by the Ethiopian Commercial Bank. Accordingly, the bond can be purchased by Ethiopian nationals and foreigners of Ethiopian nationals on behalf of third parties, but the legal owner of the bond will be the nationals.

The Nile river passes through East Africa, covering more than 4,100 miles, draining an estimated area of close to 1.3 million square miles, and providing income to more than 160 million people.  The Nile flows through 11 states, with Ethiopia and Egypt, have the strongest links to the River.  Ethiopia is the source of the tributary, the Blue Nile, which provides 80-85% of Nile River water. After flowing north, the Nile empties from Egypt into the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

Source: Emirates 24|7
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