East Africa

Ethiopia begins generating electricity from the dam on the Nile River.

According to state television, a contentious Ethiopian dam on the Blue Nile river began generating energy for the first time on Sunday.

Since its construction began in 2011, the $4.2 billion (£3.8 billion) dam in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region has been a source of contention between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

Sudan and Egypt are concerned that the project will diminish their share of Nile waters.

Ethiopia insists the dam is crucial to its growth.

The so-called Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) is Africa’s biggest hydropower project to date.

When fully operational, the Gerd is estimated to create over 5,000 megawatts of electricity, more than double the country’s current electricity output.

According to the state-owned ETV News station, it is currently 83.9 percent complete.

When fully operational, the Ethiopian government maintains that it will change the country’s economy, which has been severely harmed by famine and war.

Mr Abiy inspected the dam’s electricity producing station and punched a series of buttons to start production, according to officials, during a televised opening ceremony on Sunday.

Mr Abiy remarked on Twitter, “This is wonderful news for our continent and the downstream countries with whom we aim to work with.”

However, the dam’s construction has strained relations with Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia has diverted water from the Nile to fill a massive reservoir behind the dam.

Egypt, which is downstream and relies nearly entirely on the Nile for agricultural and drinking water, is concerned that this will have an impact on water levels entering the nation.

As a result, it needs a guarantee of a particular volume of water entering Egypt.

Ethiopia, on the other hand, is hesitant to be linked to a specific amount of water to release because its top objective is to ensure that enough water is available to operate Africa’s largest hydroelectric project.

Sudan is also concerned about the dam’s impact on water levels.

Sudan was caught off guard last year when Ethiopia opted to close three of the four water diversion outlets.

This resulted in lower water levels downstream, disrupting Sudan’s irrigation and municipal water supply pumping stations.

Both countries have been attempting to reach an agreement with Ethiopia regarding the dam’s filling and operation, but negotiations have stalled.

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