DRC President Calls for Renewed GERD Cooperation

A tripartite ministerial meeting was held in Kinshasa on Sunday and Monday between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to restart ongoing discussions on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) – representing the first time the three countries have met in several months.

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo H.E. Félix Tshisekedi, who was recently elected Chairperson of the African Union, opened the ministerial meeting with an inaugural address, calling for enhanced cross-border cooperation between the three countries.

The GERD represents a 6.45-GW hydro-electric dam currently under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. Upon completion, its primary function will be to produce electricity for domestic use in Ethiopia and for export to neighboring countries.

However, Egypt has long stood in opposition to the GERD since construction began in 2011, stating that the dam will reduce waterflow downstream, causing drought and threatening irrigation and water supply. As recently as January, the three countries had failed to reach an agreement regarding the filling and operations of the dam.

For his part, H.E. President Tshisekedi stated that the dam can serve as “a chance for a better rapprochement of our populations and opening up new opportunities for cross-border and regional cooperation.”

The Head of State said that ongoing negotiations “will offer the parties the opportunity to examine and propose solutions to the outstanding technical and legal questions… to open a new page of cooperation in the history of these three brotherly countries – the countries so essential to the consolidation of peace throughout the continent.”

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