Over 250,000 visitors have seen GERD over the last seven years
Simegnew Bekele (Eng.), manager of the Great Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) said over 250,000 people visited the dam during the last seven years. According to him, government and private employees, more than 200 international media, and diplomatic missions including Egypt and Sudan visited the dam.
Simegnew, met more than 40 local journalists, saying that the huge number of visitors is a reflection of the dam bringing about an Ethiopian renaissance.
“The visits that have occurred so far are giving us energy to do our work day and night. It also gives us an opportunity to provide a clear picture to foreigners or others who had the wrong perception of it.’’
He added that more than eight million metric tons of materials have been used on the dam so far and that the work is going well and will soon benefit Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Capital asked why the officials in GERD were not very open to the media and did not give out much information.
“The way we have been going so far is very good, when information is needed we give it when there is a time to be clam we tend to keep quiet. Like the head of a house who administers his family by overcoming many challenges we are building GERD with some challenges. However problems do not last forever, they will be forgotten when it is finished,’’ he said.
According to Simegnew the true plan of the dam will be understood when Ethiopia completes it.
“When we divert the flow of the Nile river, many foreign media stated it would negatively impact other Blue Nile tributary countries but it will not and some others are still reporting that the construction of GERD has an impact on Egypt but we will show them that the dam will not affect Egypt or another country.”
“The Nile was just a song for Ethiopians but this generation has begun a project to get something from it, to get some power and to use the dam as a service that will attract tourists and we are happy to construct the dam for this purpose .’’
The GERD has been under construction since 2011. It is in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia, about 15 km (9 mi) east of the Sudan border. At 6,450 MW, the dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, as well as the 7th largest in the world. The main contractor is the Italian company Salini Costruttori, which also served as primary contractor for the Gilgel Gibe II, Gibe III and Tana Beles dams. The electro mechanical and other work is done by the state owned Metal and Engineering Cooperation.