GERD – Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a controversial dam between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. This mega project is the subject of international deliberations. The United States and other countries are acting as observers and/ or arbitrators as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agree on the comprehensive filling and operation of the mega dam.
The massive US $4.8 billion GERD project on the Blue Nile will allow it to become Africa’s Largest Power Exporter. However, delays in the negotiations are threatening the future of the project. The issue centres around the operation of the dam during dry periods and drought, as Egypt relies on the Blue Nile for 85 percent of its freshwater. Hence, they fear the dam will diminish their water supply, which is already below scarcity level.
According to Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Egypt is eager to reach a just solution to the crisis that meets the interests of the three concerned GERD stakeholders. He expresses, how the COVID-19 is making countries to make decisions that will not threaten their future. Especially seeing how nations struggled in dealing with the pandemic because they relied on other countries for essential goods.
So far, the GERD talks from the negotiations are not promising amid Ethiopia’s intransigence in a way that would likely force Egypt to opt for other dispute resolution options. Which will likely be to raise the issue with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The aim being that, the council will prevent Ethiopia from adopting unilateral measures that may undermine the Egyptian water rights.