Ethiopia cancels turbine contract on Nile dam in reform push

by EthioForum

GERD Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,

FT- Ethiopia’s government has cancelled a contract to install turbines for a huge Nile dam by a state company, run by the military, in a sign of new prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to curtail political patronage.

Mr Abiy cancelled the contract of Metals and Engineering Corporation (Metec), citing complaints of lengthy delays by the main dam builder, the Italian engineering and construction company Salini Impreglio.

Metec has been perceived in some parts of the country as a tool of Ethiopia’s former governing elite.

The 6,450MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, set to be the largest in Africa and costing $4.8bn, is the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s plans to become an energy exporter and to transform the country of 105m people into a middle-income nation by 2025.

The dam, which is being built on the Blue Nile near the Sudanese border, has also become the focus of a dispute with Cairo, which fears it will reduce the flow of the Nile in Egypt.

“It is a project that was supposed to be completed within five years, but seven or eight years later not a single turbine is operational,” Mr Abiy said during a news conference in Addis Ababa, according to Reuters.

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