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Biggest hydro-electric project in Africa

Artist’s impression
of the Great Millennium
dam in Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 20 April 2011 – The government of Ethiopia has announced plans to develop the largest hydro-electric power project in Africa, and has selected an Italian-based firm to construct the project, news agencies report.

The news agencies say that the Ethiopian Power Corporation has selected Salini Construttori Spa “’ a Rome, Italy-based construction company “’ to build the "Great Millennium Dam" for close to US$5 billion.

The dam will be constructed on the Nile River just 40km from the border of Sudan. It is estimated that the hydro project will produce 5,250MW of electricity. The first 700MW are due to come online by 2015.

The Ethiopian government plans to fund the entire project, citing difficulties sourcing money from multilateral banks for its dam projects in the past, the Addis Fortune newspaper reported.

The dam is projected to cost about US$4.76 billion, or 95% of the government’s budget for this fiscal year, reports indicate.