By Anne-Laure Cahen,
IN APRIL 2011, Ethiopia began the construction of a huge dam on the Nile. The dam is expected to produce as much energy as six nuclear power stations for one of the world’s poorest states, but the population may pay a high price.
For Ethiopia, this “Renaissance Dam”, as the Ethiopians have nicknamed it, brings the promise of irrigated agriculture and energy independence.
However, the project is controversial. Damming a river has implications for everyone who lives nearby and anyone who makes a living on the waterway.
Downstream countries – Sudan, and especially Egypt – also see the project as a threat. Although diplomatic tensions, which were high at the project’s launch, have eased somewhat, the dam continues to cause concern.
Due to a lack of sufficient funding, work on the project – estimated at four billion euros – is delayed. Our reporters went to see.