Ethiopia announced signing a $40.1m deal with China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) to accelerate the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and another $113m contract with Voith Hydro Shanghai to complete the project.
Construction of the GERD is facing several political, financial, and technical issues.
In August 2018, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed blamed the Metal and Engineering Corporation (MeTEC), which is undertaking the electromechanical work of the GERD, for the delay of the project.
MeTEC is a governmental company affiliated with the Ethiopian Ministry of Defence.
In January 2019, the Ethiopian Water, Irrigation, and Electricity Minister, Sileshi Bekele, said that 80% of civil constructions in GERD has completed, while the implementation of hydro-mechanic work has reached 25%.
During his speech before the Ethiopian parliament, Bekele added that his ministry has bought nine turbines and an energy generator as well as some of these turbines have already reached the dam’s site and the rest are in the port, according to the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).
GERD, formerly known as the Millennium Dam, is under construction in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River.
Construction of the dam started in April 2011 and was expected to be accomplished by 2017, despite changes in design and installed power generation capacity, but in December 2018, the Project Manager of GERD, Kifle Horo, said that the dam needs more four years to be completed in 2022.
Egypt has expressed concerns over the construction of the GERD as it could negatively affect its historic Nile water share of 55bn cubic metres, which it has had access to since the historic 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan.