New AU chair vows to find solution to Ethiopia dam conflict

19th February 2021 By: John Muchira - Creamer Media Correspondent

Newly elected African Union (AU) chairperson Felix Tshisekedi has promised to find an amicable solution to the protracted dispute between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is building.


everal attempts, including mediation by the US, have failed to resolve the long-running dispute.

“I have a will to implement innovative solutions leading to the peaceful settlement of differences between countries, notably to provide solutions to problems currently dividing Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the construction of the Renaissance Dam on the Nile river,” Tshisekedi, who is President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said in his maiden speech after taking over from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Deadlocks have characterised efforts to reach agreement on filling and operating the dam, which both Egypt and Sudan reckon will have adverse impacts on the flow of the Nile river.

Ethiopia plans to continue filling the dam for the second year in a row during this year’s rainy season, which starts in July. The dam is expected to generate 6 450 MW from 2023.

Sudan Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasser Abbas has termed Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to fill the dam a threat to Sudan's national security.

For its part, Egypt – which depends on the Nile for 97% of its water needs – has maintained the dam will reduce the flow of the Nile’s waters, which could lead to serious water shortages in the country.