Sudan’s Merowe dam
project “’ the largest
hydro-power project
on the Nile River
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 06 January 201 – The government of Sudan has delivered a range of machinery to Ethiopia that it pledged to contribute last year in support of ongoing power development activities.

Last October Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir offered Ethiopia US$10 million worth of heavy machinery after a high-level Ethiopian delegation, led by the Minister of Water and Energy, Alemayehu Tegenu, had visited Khartoum for talks with Bashir and other senior government officials.

The high level meeting led to an agreement between Sudan and Ethiopia to establish a tripartite technical committee to assess the potential impact of the controversial hydroelectric dam project which Ethiopia intends to build on the Blue Nile river.

The Ethiopian delegation visit further secured donations of machinery from the Sudanese Government – paving a new chapter of cooperation in the area of hydroelectricity and irrigation between the two East African neighbours. The machinery, including bulldozers, excavators, loaders, drilling machines and trucks, arrived in Ethiopia this week.

According to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water and Energy, the funds from Sudan aim to encourage development activities in Ethiopia.

A 100MW power network link between Ethiopia and Sudan is also under construction and is expected to be functioning early this year.

Ethiopia, which is the source of over 80% of the Nile’s water, insists that it has the right to execute development projects in the Nile River, despite long-standing protests from downstream countries, such as Sudan and Egypt, which are concerned that any projects along the river will impact on their share of the water.

A colonial era agreement granted Egypt and Sudan control over most of the Nile’s water. However, a group of riparian countries, led by Ethiopia are using the 1999 Nile Basin Initiative to claim more water shares and the right to carry out development projects along the river.

Ethiopia further argues that the construction of the US$4.8 billion USD hydro power project launched in April 2011 will not harm downstream countries, but will instead provide them with electricity and help to regulate the flow of water.