Egypt detects 680 new coronavirus cases, 49 fatalities on Saturday    Aswan halt Zamalek's winning run with 0-0 draw in Egyptian league    Sudan celebrates World Day for African and Afro-descendant Culture    BREAKING: Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87    Sudan reiterates concerns over planned 2nd GERD filling without binding deal    Africa is the world's next business frontier, says AfDB's President    Britain to discuss tighter travel restrictions: BBC    Egypt's Sisi will inaugurate fish farming project in Port Said Saturday    Moscow police start detaining people before rally in support of Kremlin critic Navalny: Reuters Reporter    Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh    Egypt, China agree to complete work at business district in New Capital    N.Korea sees talks as way to advance nuclear program, says US intel official    IMF urges deficit control in Tunisia even as protesters demand jobs    Swimming Australia eyes Plan B in case of Tokyo cancellation    Arsenal fan Mat Ryan delighted with loan switch to London side    Egypt reports 748 new coronavirus cases, 52 deaths on Friday    Egypt, China sign agreement to complete work at business district in New Administrative Capital    In Photos: Egypt's Sisi tours Police Academy on Friday    Egypt's parliament approves re-extending state of emergency for three months    Donald Trump says goodbye to the White House    BREAKING: Egypt resumes diplomatic relations with Qatar ending 4-year boycott    Egypt reports 899 new coronavirus cases, 58 deaths on Tuesday    Egypt's newly elected parliament reviews the government reform plan    Happy New Year Bel Araby show at The Marquee Theatre is a must go    Egypt sends medical supplies to help Jordan battle coronavirus    Egypt supports tourism, aviation sectors with EGP 5bn during COVID19 crisis    Egypt government allocates $1.6 billion to buy COVID-19 vaccines – FinMin    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Nassef Sawiris plans to up his stake in owner of New York Knicks, Rangers    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Cooperation between Egypt and Tanzania
Published in Ahram Online on 01 - 12 - 2020

For decades, successive governments in Ethiopia have dragged Egypt through the mud, saying they wanted “exclusive” rights over the River Nile and not heeding the well-being of other riparian nations, mainly upstream ones.
This narrative, regrettably spread by Ethiopia in drifting away from Egypt, a country whose help has been crucial in helping Ethiopia to establish sectors like banking and aviation and modernise others like medicine, has stained the image of Egypt among the peoples of the Nile Basin. This has been so even though Egypt has usually lent a helping hand to the peoples of Africa in general and the Nile Basin in particular.
Egypt has successfully implemented major water and irrigation projects, including the digging of wells and the construction of small dams for rainfall harvesting in countries like South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, so that African countries can make the most of their rainfall and develop their irrigation schemes. It has also embarked on another journey that will stand forever as a symbol of the country's unyielding commitment to a better and more prosperous Nile Basin.
In 2018, a consortium of giant Egyptian companies including the Arab Contractors and El-Sewedy Electric reached a deal with the Tanzanian government under its reformist President John Magufuli to establish a mega-project in Tanzania. When this project, the Stiegler's Gorge Dam, goes online, it will transform the lives of Tanzanians by providing access to electricity for millions in this East African country, officially categorised by the World Bank as a “middle-income country.” It will regulate the flow of the mighty Rufiji River to help Tanzania advance the agricultural projects needed to maintain higher growth rates in this country of roughly 60 million people.
Before the Egyptian companies concerned were selected to finalise this mega-project, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi paid a visit to Tanzania in 2017, the first by an incumbent Egyptian president in 50 years, which set the stage for political harmony between the two countries.
The Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant at Stiegler's Gorge, named after Tanzania's historic leader, will have a 2,115-Megawatt capacity, a bit higher even than Egypt's Aswan High Dam, creating a colossal man-made lake behind it of 34 billion cubic metres of water. The dam stretches over 1,200 square km and is 134 metres high, some five metres lower than the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza.
The cost of this rock-fill dam amounts to roughly $3 billion, compared to $4.8 billion, the cost of Ethiopia's controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which has caused the Eastern Nile Basin region to sit on a powder keg. The project is expected to be operational in a couple of years, particularly as the Egyptian companies concerned are plugging away to finish it on schedule in 2022.
What matters the most about Tanzania's Stiegler's Gorge Dam is the political will shown by Egypt to finish the project first on time and second by strictly committing itself to the highest-possible construction standards. In November this year, the Egyptian ministers of housing and electricity attended a historic event in Tanzania in the presence of Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa pertaining to the diversion of the Rufiji River in order to construct the main dam and in testimony to the pace at which Egyptian companies are proceeding with the construction work.
Located in Morogoro southwest of Dar Es-Salam, the commercial capital of Tanzania and the largest city in the country, the project includes the building of a 600-metre tunnel to divert the Rufiji River's water, three tunnels to provide the necessary water to operate the power plant, four saddle dams for rainfall harvesting and 400-kilovolt transmission lines to be merged with the national power grid in Tanzania and bringing the benefits of the dam to the country's 17 million families. Stationed at the site of this mega-project are some 6,000 workers, almost half of them Tanzanians in order to ensure the transfer of know-how. El-Sewedy Electric boasts long experience in erecting power projects in Africa, and its experience is being passed on to Tanzanian engineers.
After the dam has regulated the flow of the Rufiji River, its reservoir will empower Tanzania, originally an agriculture-driven economy, to follow up on its plans for further agricultural production and to maintain its status as a well-performing economy in the East Africa region. The dam will also help the country realise its vision of becoming the largest exporter of cashew nuts in the world, as it aspires to double its production of these over the next four years, particularly as the crop is cultivated near the commercial capital of Dar Es-Salam.
The smooth construction of the Stiegler's Gorge Dam is a reminder that Ethiopia could also have constructed its GERD Dam project without causing so much fuss, whether downstream or upstream on the Nile. Initially, Ethiopia was to establish a similar dam to that being built in Tanzania at a somewhat more affordable cost instead of using “humanitarian assistance funding” to speed up the building of the GERD.
Under the initial calculations, the project would have generated the electricity necessary for those who are still living in the dark in this landlocked nation without inflicting harm on downstream peoples in Sudan and Egypt, whether on a larger or a smaller scale. But unlike in the case of Tanzania, Ethiopia has rejected repeated calls from Egypt for the co-implementation of the project, citing issues of “sovereignty”.
Also unlike in the Tanzanian case, a consensus on the project has not been Ethiopia's top priority. The Horn of Africa nation has been adamantly rejecting calls for a fair compromise, and it has chosen confrontation rather than cooperation on the dam and has falsely tried to present itself as a “victim” of so-called Egyptian monopoly over the Nile.
In reality, when the Stiegler's Gorge Dam is finished, the Nile Basin region will be disabused of the notion, unfortunately long held by short-sighted Ethiopian governments, that Egypt only works to keep the upper hand as far as the Nile waters are concerned. The wall of anti-Egyptian sentiments will fall when the Tanzanians see their long-awaited dream of an uninterrupted new power supply coming true, this time through the dedicated and cost-effective work of their brothers in Egypt.
The writer is a former press and information officer in Ethiopia and an expert on African affairs.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 December, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.