By Paschal Norbert
ADDIS ABABA, AUGUST 17, 2022 (CISA) – “The success of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is truly our national pride!” congratulated Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) in a statement dated August 15.
The congratulatory message of the cardinal comes on the backdrop of the August 12 announcement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He had announced the completion of the third filling of its mega-dam reservoir on the Blue Nile a day after the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) launched power production from the second turbine at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
“Light is a gift to all. The poor should not be left out to live in the darkness just because of their poverty. Our Creator Himself will not approve and tolerate such discriminatory treatment against the poor. It is important to share the natural resources that God has given us in a way that everyone benefits from them equally; particularly, it is everyone’s responsibility to support the poor and marginalized people to set them free from the burden of life caused by the poverty,” said Cardinal Souraphiel.
“The Nile River has been passing at the doors of our poor Ethiopian mothers for years and years, yet they are far from benefiting from it. Moreover, their children miss education, and mothers are losing their precious lives due to a lack of simple treatment. The successful completion of the Dam is above all a relief to the poor who are left out to live in darkness while they have full rights to benefit from their own river,” he added.
Cardinal Souraphiel in his message to the people of Ethiopia and goodwill, prayed for the successful completion of the Renaissance Dam.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), formerly known as the Millennium Dam, is under construction in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River, which is located about 40km east of Sudan. The project is owned by EEPCO.
The dam’s construction is expected to create up to 12,000 jobs and approximately 20,000 people will be resettled during the project.
However, according to reports by various media outlets, the dam has been “at the centre of a regional dispute ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the mega project in 2011.”
“Egypt and Sudan view the dam as a threat because of their dependence on Nile River waters, while Ethiopia deems the dam essential for domestic electrification and development,” said a report by Aljazeera News Agency.