The course of the Blue Nile River has successfully been diverted to facilitate the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Speaking at a ceremony on 28 May in Guba, the site of the dam in Benishangul Gumuz State, the president of the GERD Construction Public Co-ordination Council and Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen, said the dam would benefit not only Ethiopia but also neighbouring countries.

Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said the construction of the dam was being carried out in such a way as to enhance co-operation and economic integration and would not do any damage to the lower riparian countries.

CEO of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, Mihret Debebe, said energy projects such as the GERD were essential in developing countries like Ethiopia to satisfy growing energy demand.

He said Ethiopia would generate up to 8,000MW of electricity by the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan period in 2015.

So far, 21% of the dam has been constructed and once completed it will have an installed generating capacity of 6000MW and storage capacity of 74 billion cubic metres of water.

Courtesy the Ethiopian Embassy in London