Cairo welcomed Ethiopia’s suspension of work on the Renaissance Dam on the Nile River for the next four years, revealed informed Egyptian sources.
It will not be completed until 2022, more than four years behind schedule, because of possible defects with the hydro-electrical plant’s equipment, an official said Thursday.
The sources described news as “positive”, adding that they will benefit upcoming negotiations between Cairo and Addis Ababa.
An Egyptian parliamentary source credited Cairo’s pressure on Addis Ababa for Ethiopia’s decision.
The dam’s construction managers have concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country’s military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation.
“We have a plan to generate power from the first two units within the coming two years and then probably the dam will be completed in the year 2022,” the dam’s construction manager, Kifle Hora, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Experts are assessing some electro-mechanical equipment for possible defects, he said. “Based on the assessment, we are going to devise a remedial solution which we may have to take,” he said.
“We first noticed problems with the dam’s electro-mechanical and metal works two years ago but we only started taking detailed measurements in the past few months,” Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Sileshi Bekele, said.
“This (military) corporation has no prior experience and I highly doubt if some of the people have ever seen a hydropower plant. The government made a mistake in assigning a local contractor that has no knowledge and experience of such a complex project. In my opinion, it was a grave mistake and we are paying a price for that,” Kifle said, adding that construction of other parts of the dam is continuing.
The deadline for completing the dam is not important, said the informed sources, but it is important for Ethiopia to commit to agreements reached with Egypt.