The Mega Nile Dam and the Millennium Bond: Redemption or Deception of the TPLF Government? By Getachew Begashaw, PhD.

May 3rd, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The government of Meles Zenawi has recently declared its plan to build a mega hydroelectric power dam along the Nile despite objections from concerned countries, especially Egypt. This dam will be built in the western part of Ethiopia, Benishangul Zone, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Sudan’s border. The government claims that the project will cost as much as 5 billion US dollars, which is about 85-90 billion Ethiopian birr. According to Zenawi, the construction of this dam can be completed without any foreign aid. In one of his televised interview with Yasin of Al-Hayat London Newspaper, he touted: “… it will not be impossible for 80 million people to contribute 80 billion Birr”. If the claims and estimates of Zenawi’s are to be taken seriously, the projected dam will produce about 5,250 MW of electric power and will be completed in 5 to 10 years. The project is announced amid the recent Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) controversy among the riparian states. According to the Alternative Energy Africa’s report, Egypt and Sudan are in partnership against all the signatories of the Entebbe agreement of the NBI that include Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi.

Many Ethiopians are wondering why Zenawi’s regime decided to embark on this huge project that could have serious impact on peace, stability, and development of the country and the region. The general sentiment is captured in a paragraph of an article by an anonymous writer that appeared on Ethiomedia, May April 26, 2001:

Undoubtedly, given the topography of the Blue Nile valley, constructing a hydroelectric dam on it requires a high-level engineering technology not to speak of the billions of Birr it requires. Has Meles acquired donor funding for it? We know he hasn’t and in the deputy prime minister’s own admission they have not secured any funding; and it is highly unlikely that donors will ever fund it because of political reasons that can trigger the wrath of Egypt thereby affecting the Middle East peace process. Why choosing this risky business at this time? No funding, political risks: why risk it now? Is it really possible to build a dam of such scale without donors’ grants or loans from them but with contributions from the most impoverished people in the world and by selling bonds to them? We can discern from this that the purpose of the millennium project rhetoric is not development as it is neither serious nor feasible. By now, we can see the dominant feature of the political aspect in this project. It is indeed a political project aimed at deceiving the public and diverting their attention from a possible uprising.
In this paper I argue that, in addition to the above astute observation, Zenawi is cunningly using the project to perpetually milk the hard earned money of the Ethiopian people, including those in the Diaspora, for the foreseeable life of the project. The project not only will ensure kickbacks to Zenawi and his cronies from the no-bid contract awarded to Salini Costruttori, it is also conceived to generate a stream of revenue for TPLF through coercion to buy bond and lucrative contracts to the vast TPLF-held business conglomerate.
The implication for the Diaspora is particularly dire, since the naïve investors will be held hostage and be forced to buy more of the bond, to ensure the completion of the project and to redeem the bonds they have already bought. Indeed, this has been the indirect means of control the TPLF has exercised over our compatriots who have gone back to Ethiopia and have made some investments in real-estate and service industries.
Socio-Economic Consequences of Large Dams

Based on experiences with the construction and operation of large dams around the world, the benefits from these projects have been seriously questioned and challenged by numerous interest and focus groups, including locally affected people and global coalitions of environmental and human rights activists. Dorcey, in his book titled, large dams: learning from the past looking at the future, documents that the expected economic benefits of large dams are not realized and that major environmental, economic, and social costs are imposed on societies. In a related study, Scudder, a professor in Development Anthropology at California Institute of Technology and a World Bank’s senior environmental advisor, asserts that adverse social impacts of large dam constructions have been underestimated and that they have “unnecessarily lowered the living standards of millions of local people”. . Further, the 1994 Manibeli Declaration, the 1997 Curitiba Declaration, and the 2002 Posada Declaration, along with several other declarations, called for a moratorium on the World Bank funding and reparations for those affected by the constructions of large dams.
In a rigorous empirical study of a large dam construction that has many similarities with that of Ethiopia’s proposed Nile dam, Lin and Schuster studied the problem of hydroelectricity development for the Grand Inga Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with particular reference to ownership of land and water, policy assumptions behind development of the project, public works construction, socio-economic development, and environmental conservations. They concluded that investment in hydroelectricity fails to stimulate economic development within the Democratic Republic of Congo because of the following reasons:
“… [t]he investment in the Inga-Shaba project … did not lead to socio-economic development in DRC due to political instability and mismanagement of public finance and resources, which result from the failure of the political regime to develop institutions and laws that (1) involve stakeholders in the formulation of national natural resources policies, (2) distribute benefits from exploitation of natural resources in ways that are perceived as equitable and legitimate by regional stakeholders, (3) ensures public accountability in public investment, … and (4) use of military in political disputes”.
In a separate study, the International Rivers group reports that Africa’s large dams have consistently been built at the expense of rural communities, who have been forced to sacrifice their lands and livelihoods to them and yet have reaped few benefits. Large dams in Sudan, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia/Zimbabwe and Ghana have brought considerable social, environmental and economic damage to Africa, and have left a trail of “development–induced poverty” in their wake. Project benefits have been consistently overstated and inequitably shared. Large hydropower dams also reinforce centralized power grids, which disproportionately benefit industry and higher income groups, and widen income disparities (and energy inequities) between Africa’s poor and Africa’s elite .

Similarly, The Economist, in its issue of May 6, 2010, wrote: “…. political instability, graft and incompetence have meant that many African dams, once built, have failed to produce what was promised. The Inga I and II dams on the Congo River have generated a fraction of the power they were meant to. The technology is demanding. Seasonal rains produce muddy rivers, with higher sedimentation than northern countries’ dams filled with melted snow. That means a shorter lifespan and heavier maintenance”.

The Gibe III Project — A Harbinger for the Nile Dam

A look back at the disastrous experience with the Gibe III project may shed light on the impending catastrophe with the ill-conceived mega project on the Nile. The Gibe III dam, whose construction began in 2006, is perhaps Ethiopia’s largest investment project so far. A fact sheet about this dam in Ethiopia, published in May of 2009 by International Rivers, a lobby group that tries to save rivers from dams it considers are destructive, presents solid accounts of the technical, economic, social, and environmental disasters that followed the construction and mismanagement of the project . According to the report, Zenawi’s government neglected to properly assess economic, technical, environmental and social risks, violating domestic laws and international standards. The government, in its rush to construct the dam, also neglected to study the effects of regional climate change, which could even dramatically affect the dam’s performance over its lifespan. The report further disclosed that the dam could be a development disaster for Ethiopia and the region.

Another human rights group, Survival International, documented that the livelihood and culture of over 200,000 agropastoralists from eight distinct indigenous people in the Omo river basin could be ruined by Gibe III and even asserted that the government of Zenawi has behaved criminally in pushing through the project . The project will destroy the Omo River’s annual flood that supports riverbank cultivation and grazing lands for livestock.

According to a UNESCO World Heritage Site report, Lake Turkana in Kenya, that is considered an oasis of biodiversity in a harsh desert environment, will be destroyed by the Gibe III project. More than 300,000 people with rich animal life depend on the Lake and the agency warns that hundreds of thousands of fishing families and pastoralists will be adversely affected if the lake’s fragile ecosystem is stressed to the brink of collapse .

It may be recalled that the government of Zenawi directly awarded a no-bid engineering, procurement and construction contract for Gibe III to the same Italian construction company, Salini Costruttori, in June 2006. According to Transparency International, “large public works projects are one of the world’s most corrupt sectors, and no-bid contracts are an open invitation to corruption” . The two contracts, worth $1.7 billion for Gibe III and $5 billion for the Nile dam, violate Ethiopia’s Federal Public Procurement Directive, which requires international competitive bidding. The World Bank declined to consider project funding for both projects because the contracts violated the Bank’s own procurement policy.

The Nile Dam – A Tragedy-in-Waiting
According to the report of the government, the proposed Nile dam project will be Africa’s largest and the world’s 10th largest hydroelectric dam, with twice the generating capacity of Hoover Dam in the United States and slightly lower than Robert-Bourassa of Canada. The government claims that it will be the single most important infrastructure project that will take Ethiopia out of poverty. Despite the government’s manufactured exuberance over the projected future benefit of the dam, by all accounts, it is a national tragedy-in-waiting.
The proposed mega dam project on the Nile is fraught with many questions that shed light about the sinister ploy behind its genesis. Is the project serious and genuine? Why is it announced at this particular moment? Why insist on this project while all regional and global indicators and the adverse outcome of our exercise with Gibe III advise against it? More importantly, if it is advertised as the project of the millennium, how come it is not even remotely indicated in the much talked about Ethiopia’s Five Year Development Plan, billed as the Millennium Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Nowhere in the document, even in the section of the plans of the Ethiopian Electric and Power Authority, could one see any mention of this mega project. Why is it then that it is proclaimed all of a sudden with so much fanfare? These and other secrets that shrouded the project lead one to surmise the following:
1. It is just a propaganda ploy manufactured after the release of the GTP document sometime in August to divert attention from the revolutionary surges in the Middle-East and North Africa
2. A calculated scheme to garner new sources of income for Zenaiw’s repressive regime.

Irrespective of the ulterior motives of Zenawi’s regime, building this mega dam on the Nile is an ill-advised undertaking in terms of feasibility, security, desirability, and sustainability. There will be no benefit to the local people or the country. As evidenced by the negative impacts of such huge dams around the world, there is no economies of scale argument to justify the size and the scope of this project in Ethiopia. It will fail with a hefty cost to the people, and a huge debt for generations to come.
In an article distributed to members of the Ethiopian Development Policy Focus Group (EDPFG), Hurisso Gemechu presents compelling arguments that there are other better alternatives to this highly expensive and unsustainable huge hydroelectric project. More specifically, mini or micro hydroelectric power systems can easily bring up to100 KW of power to villages and towns using local water resources, and that they can also easily be connected to other existing and future electric power networks at low cost. Moreover, these types of hydroelectric projects can be environmentally benign energy conversion options without significantly interfering with river flows, and that they can be more attractive in terms of economic values and environmental considerations. In the context of Ethiopia, these alternatives are well suited for power generation as well as irrigation, recreation, tourism, and fishing much better than what the highly eroded deep escarpments of the Nile can provide.

Bond Issuance through Coercion and Deceit

As acknowledged by Zenaiw’s government, the usual donors and lenders will not fund this project. There are several reasons for this apathy on the part of donor nations and institutions. First, the project is a bad investment decision because it will have a certain negative return. Secondly, any such venture will inevitably have an untoward impact on the entire geo-politics of the Middle East. The West cannot afford to let this happen, especially at this time of so much uncertainty about the region. Even China would be reluctant since the benefit from such an investment is no match for its oil interest.

As a consequence, having declared “it wouldn’t be hard for 80 million people to contribute 80 billion birr”, Zenawi has launched a massive campaign of coercing the Ethiopian people and businesses to buy the “Millennium Bond”.
The features of the bond specify that it is a Corporate Bond, issued by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO), through Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), and is called EEPCO Millennium Bond. The guarantor of the bond is the government and it is issued in USD, Pound Sterling, Euro and other convertible currencies. The minimum bond issued is USD 500 and the interest rates are 4%, 4.5 % and 5% for 5, 7 and 10 years maturity periods respectively.
The bond has several aspects that are not obvious to understand. It is defined as corporate bond and the government is assigned to be a guarantor. If we accept it as corporate bond, then, it will be a debt security issued by a corporation and sold to investors. According to the internationally accepted practice, the backing for the bond will be the payment ability of the corporation, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation in this case. The payment ability of the corporation is typically determined by the money to be earned from future operations. That means, the payment ability of EEPCO is determined by the money to be collected in the future from the operations of the Nile hydroelectric power. In some cases, where the future earnings of the corporation are not fully reliable or secured, the corporation’s physical assets may be used as collateral for bonds. At this point, it is not clear what the investors may have as collateral. The physical assets of EEPCO or the Nile hydroelectric power are owned by the government and cannot be disaggregated and disposed. At any rate, corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds. As a result, interest rates are almost always higher than for government bond, even for top-flight credit quality companies.
One argument that one could raise in regards to the bond collateral is that the government is a guarantor. Unfortunately, the government of Meles Zenawi itself has a bond rating of CCC-, which is less than what is called Junk Bond (BBB- rating by Standard & Poor’s). That means, the government’s bond rating is equal to that of corporations in default with little or no prospect for recovery. How such a government with poor rating can be a reliable guarantor of corporate bond is open to question.
Government guaranteed corporate bonds are not customary, and happen rarely. Once such rare instance was when the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) sponsored Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program to afford bank holding companies the opportunity to issue unsecured debt (bond in this case) guaranteed by the US government. The program is part of the government’s overall recovery plan and is intended to facilitate bank holding company recapitalization during the recent recessionary period. The program will now be ended by June 30, 2012. One other country that is much known for using the bond market to raise money for operations other than military functions is Israel. Even then, Israel doesn’t accept responsibility for bonds traded by Israeli corporations.
In all likelihood, this “Millennium Bond” is a government bond because EEPCO is a service agency of the government. Unlike the US government bond, usually called Treasury bond that is regarded as extremely safe in the investment world, the bonds of many developing countries do carry substantial risks. Like private corporations, countries can default on payments. This has happened in Eritrea recently. As reported by Haile Tesfay in awate (Nov 23, 2002), the Eritrean people, especially those in the Diaspora, got shortchanged following their generous response to the financial needs of the Eritrean government during its conflict with the government of Meles Zenawi. Tesfay wrote:
Eritreans dug deep into their pockets, bank accounts, credit cards and even took out second and third mortgages on their homes in order to respond to this call. When the government came out with the ‘dollar a day’ initiative, we dug into our savings. When the government came out with the “first, second and third offensive” initiatives, we emptied out our children’s education funds. When the government screamed we need more money, we went as far as borrowing from our credit cards. Finally, the government came up with bond certificates and we, in good faith, bought them, with the understanding that they would be honored upon their maturity. This year, the first batch of bond certificates matured and many Eritreans are finding out that the Eritrean Government is playing the ‘procrastination’ game; that it is not honoring its legal contract with the Eritrean people.
The “Millennium Bond” is issued in USD, and other convertible hard currencies. This makes it a Sovereign Bond. A Sovereign bond is a debt security issued by a national government denominated in a foreign currency of a country with a stable economy. The foreign currency denomination makes it significantly risky to the bondholder. According to many investment advisors, Sovereign Bonds, especially those issued by a government of a country with an unstable economy, will have significant default risks. This is because that government, beside all other economic problems, will most likely have shortage of foreign exchange reserve to honor the bond up on maturity.

Why do people invest in bonds? Generally, people invest in bonds to begin saving to provide for a secure tomorrow. In a well-functioning economy and stable political system, bondholders can reach their goals with safety, market-based yields, and tax benefits whether they are saving for a new home, car, vacation, education, retirement, or for a rainy day. In the US, for instance, U.S. savings bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. These bonds can earn market-based rates up to 30 years allowing the individual investment to grow.

There is no basis to suggest that government of Meles Zenawi, with a very poor credit rating (CCC-) in the bonds market, can be trusted for this kind of investment. The promised rates of returns on the “Millennium Bond” in Ethiopia are 4%, 4.5%, and 5% for 5, 7 and 10 years maturity periods, respectively. Ethiopia has been perpetually plagued with inflationary markets ever since the government of Zenawi came to power. It has been experiencing a chronic inflation rate that is more than 25% this current quarter alone, despite the stringent price control recently announced by Zenawi. The ever increasing inflation in the country has significant implication on the above rates of returns on the bond, especially for the domestic investors. Even in the unlikely scenario that the government will honor its obligation, the returns from this bond investment are extremely low. In the situation in which the government is the borrower and the bondholders are the lenders, the current inflation implies that the bondholders are paying the government about 20% of their savings in bonds so that the government could use their money! That is the real rates of returns (the nominal rates minus the inflation rate) will be negative 21%, 20.5%, and 20% respectively. In this irrational investment scheme, where lenders (bondholders) are paying the government (the borrower), the clear benefit of this transaction goes to Mr. Zenawi and his cronies at the expense of the Ethiopian people.

Concluding Remarks

Ethiopia does not need a huge hydroelectric dam that is proven to cause untold human, economic, social, environmental, and natural resource destructions. Many small dams with a mix of various uses, including agricultural irrigation, power generation, fisheries, tourism, and recreation could be built around the country at a much lower cost and guaranteed success. Ethiopians should not allow a government that has continued to embezzle and squander their hard earned money to put its hands on their meager resources again. They should not be fooled by fake nationalism and patriotism of a government that:
• made the country landlocked, without any access to the sea and maritime trade,
• parcels out the fertile agricultural lands to foreigners at almost no cost, and puts out anything Ethiopian for sale,
• cedes fertile farmlands of western Ethiopia, all the way from Gondar to Gambella, to Sudan,
• has no respect or regard for the country’s history or heritage, including its flag,
• is known for corruption, nepotism and lack of transparency,
• divides the people along ethnic lines and homelands, and
• denies its people basic human rights and freedoms.

The ethno-centric government of Meles Zenawi has repeatedly demonstrated that it has no interest in promoting the long-term interest of the country. The affront on Abbay (Nile), which is very close to the hearts of many Ethiopians as a symbol of national pride, is another attempt by Zenawi to reassert his authoritarian control over the people in the guise of patriotism. Ethiopians cannot and should not fall for this manufactured nationalism of a dictator, who has much to account for crimes he has committed during his 20 years of authoritarian rule.

Many scholars believe that if there is another world war, it will be a war over waters. Therefore, the Nile issue requires a sober and deliberated approach where all Ethiopians are consulted and heard through a democratically elected government.

By all accounts, the TPLF government has initiated this mega dam project, not out of its goodwill to catapult Ethiopia out of poverty, but out of its sinister schemes to divert the attention of the people from the revolutionary uprising on the horizon and to swindle money out of the pocket of the hardworking Ethiopians. Therefore, all Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora, have a historic responsibility to stand in unison and thwart the destructive plan of the dictator.

1. Anthony H. J. Dorcey. (1997). Large Dams: Learning from the Past, Looking at the Future.
IUCN–The World Conservation Union and World Bank Group.

Thayer Scudder . (1997). Social Impacts of Large Dams. IUCN–The World Conservation Union and World Bank Group
Lin, Chen and Schuster, Allison. (2009). Hydroelectricty Investment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – The Grand Inga. Tufts University Big Dams: Bringing Poverty, Not Power to Africa FACT SHEET: GIBE III DAM, ETHIOPIA

  1. Abel
    | #1

    It is truly a deception.

  2. rezene kadissaba
    | #2

    why do you just pick gibe III case only – just because it serves your purpose? how about Tekeze and Tana which are within the nile basin? And built with self financing?
    Read about ‘energy poverty’ it will give you some idea. Neighbouring countries are making lines to buy power – tell me whose permission should Eth wait to build a mega dam? Its really laughable quoting survival international – ask them to spend a day without electricity -

  3. Tadesse Ayalew
    | #3

    we will work together.

  4. Haile
    | #4

    Do not know what your PHD is but I surely know one thing for sure from what you wrote concerning the Dam building free of foreign help. I admire Meles for trying to do things on his own, independent of any aid.
    Your PHD stands for ” Please Help, Dependent. You remind me of the Gondere (Amhara) Emperor, when confronted with destruction of villages, churches and any historical relic that represents the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia, instead of fighting to protect his Empire and probably his people, he opted to beg for help from the Christian King of Portugal.
    I am Eritrean by extraction but Ethiopian by Nationality and Meles destroyed my career while he was an Essayas errand boy all the way to the Ethio-Eritrean war and I would have been respected by this regime if I were an Amhara. I understand your frustration especially when Meles has achieved something that Menelik and H.Selassie cannot achieve. The best way forward is to be positive rather than entertain the notion that Extremists are better than Meles just because he, not only accomplished a lot but kept Ethiopia intact when the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia or even Cheqoslovakia disappeared from the map of the world. If it had happened in Ethiopia,not only wold it have separated along ethnic lines but the Amharas would have been divided among themselves, ( Gonder, Wollongong, Gojjam ) since all them claimed the Throne that ruled Ethiopia at one time or another.

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    The lack of trust of the Meles Government by Dr. Begashaw is well taken.

    The extent of the huge Dam creating “..serious impact on peace, stability..” should be revised in light of the Egyptian delegation visit and their attitude towards the use of the Nile.

    The environmental impact of the Dam is expected to be minimal listening to environmental experts. Human displacement is very minimal if any.

    The huge Dan will be a cash cow for the country to be able to build the smaller dams and irrigation projects Dr. Begashaw is talking about. It may be a “.. calculated scheme to garner new sources of income for Zenaiw’s repressive regime..” however, as we saw in the North African countries the increase in income accelerates the DEMISE of dictatorial regimes.

    The Bond safety and interest rate doesn’t apply to Ethiopians who save their money in Ethiopian Banks. They presently make less interest income and is backed by the same government. The Dr. advise is good only to the Diaspora investors.

    The lack of trust looking at the history of Woyane by Dr. Begashaw can’t be denied. Our Dilemma is this Dictatorship continuously adjusts its position/stand on important national questions mentioned on the article.

    I will not be surprised if it recognizes a Greater Afar region that includes Assab & Massawa as part of a Ethiopia tomorrow. What are we going to do then? Still talk about and hold them hostage for their past “made the country landlocked, without any access to the sea and maritime trade” ? I will not.

    IMO, such a position would be in the border line of defending Eritrea/ Egypt’s Colonial treaties.

    The Egyptian Colonial treaty is even rejected by the new Egyptian leadership that came to Addis last week. I expect Dr. Begashaw to update at least that part of his position in light of that development.

    Today the Meles Gov. reversed the Land leased to Karturi from 300,000 hectares to 100,000. This reversal is not ASSAB but it involves an enormous amount of land piece of the country.

    | #6


  7. Hafshaala
    | #7

    Nothing can save the political acrobatist Meles Zenawi, from the imminent and the upcoming REVOLUTION; that means the time is for a revolution. But we, the Oromo nationalists, do ask: where are the other students, while the Oromo students are revolting? Why are the Amhara students and the students from the other opressed nations still sleeping? Are they still the victims of Woyane’s divide and rule method? We actually must be able to say together: no more antagonizing the all-inclusive freedom fighters in favour of the Woyane fascist forces. It is clear that the Woyane fascists and racists survived by dividing, fragmentizing and polarizing both the Amhara integrationist camp and the Oromo independenist camp among themselves and between each other.

    But now the question is: how long will both the Ethiopian nationalists’ camp of the Amhara and the Ethnic nationalists’ bloc of the Oromo allow the Woyane to play with them and how long do they give a chance for this mafia group to beat them turn by turn? Are they less intelligent than the Woyane not to outsmart this fascist and racist regime? Time will show us for how long Woyane will play the game of pure political acrobat, presenting itself (camouflaging) as either the Oromo independenist or as the only Ethiopian unionist (killil-federalist) or as the Amhara integrationist just to sow a discord among the opposition and make these different parts of the opposition to fight each other; actually the ONLY true motive of Woyane is to keep the Tigrean hegemony at any cost. On the day that the Oromo nationalists start to make also the issue of an integrated Ethiopia as their own REGIONAL issue, of course beside an independent Oromia as the NATIONAL issue, and on the day the Amhara nationals start to accept and respect Oromia’s right to exist, at least within an integrated Ethiopia, this day will be the day of a real demise for the fascist and racist Woyane regime.

    Otherwise, we have to be able to differentiate Woyane political acrobatists from the genuine independenist Oromo, the unionist (federalist) South and the integrationist Amhara. To know this difference, what matters is not the position of their guts, but more the direction of their guns. Woyane cadres do direct their guns (verbal bullets) on pro-integration Amhara nationals and on pro-independence Oromo nationalists, whereas the genuine opposition from these two camps nowadays consequently and conciously try to direct their guns ONLY on the currently tormenting enemy (the Woyane). Woyane cadres shoot continously at these genuine Amhara and Oromo groups, whereas the genuine pro-independence Oromo and the genuine pro-integration Amhara nationals do try to tolerate all the opposition political groups with their different tactics and strategies in struggling for FREEDOM from Woyane’s fascism. So we just need to check the direction of their guns in order to differenitate the camouflaged Woyane cadres talking about an ‘independent Oromia’ and an ‘integrated Ethiopia’ from both the genuine opposition blocs advocating these two same agenda respectively.

  8. Sam
    | #8

    Getachew asked the right question. He wondered ” if it is advertised as the project of the millenium, how come it is [the dam] not remotely indicated in the much talked about Ethiopia’s Five Year Development Plan.” TPLF is always watching, suspecting, dreaming danger is coming to challenge the very power the party worships. From day one that the leadership was dug in in Arat Kilo palace, the leadership has kept seeing visible and invisible supposed enemies. They never trusted Ethiopians. Ethiopians have not trusted them. Now the Egyptians and Tunisians uprisings drove them more to panick. Time to fabricate news to cultivate Ethiopian nationalism. Geday is different from Gudeta kind of politics had to take a back seat. To this end no better candidate that equals Isayes Afewerki. Ethiopia declared changing its policy towards the Asmara government– meaning war might erupt. Another fairytale, I was sucked into this one, I admit, the dam has become topic of the moment. Is there any rational person who is thinking TPLF is governing? No. They are trying to survive. Does any sane person could think a government consumed thinking about its survival all the time does have time to implement the right politics which the country desperately needs? Not any sane person could think that. By the way I read five minutes ago in NAZRET .COM Meles made his first step for retreat. He said Ethiopia will wait until ther Egyptian form their government before the plan go to effect. What happened to the Meles of two weeks ago who practically said who cares What Egypt might think doing? Well, the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings are not in the headlines anymore. Meaning TPLF has some breathing room. Ethiopians have never been ruled by a government which worried about its survival constantly. TPLF is the first. I hope it is the last.

  9. Peter Bondowi
    | #9

    Those in the west who oppose dam building in Africa have built 266 large dams and more than 75000 medium and small dams. After initial cost is covered dams offer almost free energy source for centuries and add a lot to GDP. Three gorges dam in China derided as it is at microscopic management level, it is playing decisively critical role keeping export prices low not only by reducing energy prices but also providing transport waterway to the hinterland where labor is cheap. Despite many want you to believe by exaggerating temporary and microscopic issues, dams invariably have way more positive impact than negative just because the negative effects last at most decades and the positive impacts last generations. There are Babylonian dams on Eferatus which are still serving today. So don’t be gullible. Builders of Hoover dam are considered as heroes of American rise to super power status. More people have died building the Hoover dam than fighting the recent wars the US is engaged in. There will be a lot of downside but the upside is much higher even in the short term.

  10. ጉረኞች
    | #10

    Woyane cadres don’t even understand what bond is and how it works. They just grab the word and run with it. There will be no plan for building a dam, it is a hoax. If Woyane survives this year, we will see what the excuse will be a year from now.

  11. HistoricTime
    | #11

    Here again the same old story with Ethiopians based in the USA.
    The next time the author should write the disclaimer:
    ”Readers, i am exiled in the USA and i have to be careful not to anger my host country.
    Therefore don’t expect me to tell you all what i know and should.”

    We all need to know that the author is not telling the whole story.He ignored important facts such as the regime in power was imposed on Ethiopians by the USA, that it is a US puppet regime and all this happens because of the support the regime gets from the USA.

  12. aha!
    | #12

    This is another of the few researched article that provided information as to actual location of the Nile Dam, nevertheless undulated in topography, much less so than I have anticipated, the enivironmental ipact of the farmers in the region as experienced elsewhere, and the engineering required and to my understanding the feasibility of the project no matter of the funding source in terms of infrastructural development. Where is the parliament in this dialogue of the Millenium Dam Project, which remind us even if the parliament is involved, this is a regime, where the the three branches of the government is lopsided twowards the executive branch of TPLF/eprdf, where TPLF is the dominant component of the party, with further authority leads to one man rule within TPLF component, which embraces the charactertics of autocratic rule, ethnocratic rule/ethnic dictatorship, no matter who comes to power based on ethnic agenda in this case Medrek/fdre, and totalitarianism as a vestige of the Dergue regime, which atleast fought the libertation movements and Somalia to maintain Ethiopian unity and terrtorial integrity.

    I found what the current regime is doing with respect to the Millienium Dam Project campaign to raise fund both in terms of contributions from salaries and bond holders and rallying the Ethiopians towards confrontations with Egypt in terms of maintainig territorial integrity is not only disingeneuos, but also deceptive and/or diversionay tactic to avert any uprising/reaction to freedom from autocratic, ethnocratic/ethnic dictatorship and totalitarianism under ethnic fedralism and secessionism, where the pragmatic solution to counter the TPLF/eprdf regime of ethic and secessionist politics and/or policies and exploitation and political and economic strangle hold of the country,s resources and its people by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises by uniting over the common goals for unity, territorial integrity and sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians and the stratgies to accomplish these goals.

  13. aha!
    | #13

    Furthermore, the priorities for economic development for Ethiopia need to be afforstation and revitalization of Nothern and Central Highlands and other undulated topgraphies of the watershed/water catchment basins of the Nile/Abay tributaries to raise productivity, to conserve the soil and water retention capacity and carbon dioxide sequestration capacity of the regins.

  14. ይሄይስ
    | #14

    ጌቶች ሁሉም ነገር ተቃውማችሁ እንዴት ልትዘልቁት ነው? በሃያ አመት ውስጥ ትንሽ ፖለቲካዊ ሽግሽግ ከሌለ መማሩ ጥቅሙ ምንድን ነው? አሜሪካን አገር ስላላችሁ አገር ቤት ካሉት ከነዶ/ር ያእቆብ አርሳኖ ትበልጣላችሁ ማለት አይደለም። ለመሆኑ በኢትዮጵያ ደሃ ህዝብ ገንዘብ የተማሩት ለመቃወም ብቻ ነው? 80 ሚልዮን ሀዝብ ታጥቆ የተነሳለትን ፕሮጀክት ቀዝቃዛ ውሃ ለመቸለስ አይጣደፉ። እርስዎ ኢትዮጵያዊነት በሙሉ ሃይሉ ከሰራ ምን ያሀል ሜጋዋት እንደሚያመንጭ የተረዱት አይመስልም። የአድዋ ድልን ያስታውሱ። ለማንኛውም ኢትዮጵያ እንደ ሃገር የምትጠቀምበትን ነገር ለፖለቲካ ፍጆታ ለማዋል መሞከር ትርፉ ትዝብት ነው ጌቶች። እርግጠኛ ነኝ ይሄ ታሪካዊ ህዝብ ፕሮጀክቱን በድል ሲያጠናቅቅ እርስዎና መሰሎችዎን ያስታውሳል። የተወጋ አይረሳማ!

  15. aha!
    | #15

    To express ones opinion, especially as thorough and informative in a divergent point of view to the views of the current regime about the Mega Nile Dam is ones own democratic right; which is not available for Ethiopians in the parliament to debate about it, nor for the press to write against it, to say the least that it is a deception and distraction from the up and coming uprising/reaction to freedom from autocratic rule, ethnocratic/ethnic dictatorship, and totalitariansism.

    What I agree with Yeheyis, however,” bedehaw hizib yetemarut lemekawem bicha new?” malet sayhone, all Ethiopians, should coalesce around the commonn goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, under liberal democracy with unified strategies to repay their dues to the tax payers in Ethiopia to create a truly democratic society with original provinces reinstated and the constituion of ethnic and secessionist politics and or policies removed and the balance of power between the branches of government restored and the party rules by the consent of the governed, which would not happen under the current set up of the political models of TPLF/eprdf, and Medrek/fdre dominating the major media in the diaspora, and the Ethiopians at home bombarded by deceptive and distractive politics of web-communications and ETV broadcasts, which Yeheyis is telling us that 80 million people are behind the Mega Dam, as if we are not listening to other informative sources.

    What I suggest to Yeheyis as as counter to current to current article the pros about the Mega Nile Dam and its political implications, its urgency for infrastructural development with 5250 MW and the cost for the grid to bring it to Center and elsewhere and the demand for domestic and commercial use justifies it. To say the least Yehayis is the one who damps cold water into the democratic dialog.

  16. observer
    | #16

    I did not believe your analysis is scientific sober and objective.

    it is true and you stated very well in your discussion that, the current Ethiopian government lacks behind peoples expectation on several accounts, such as the Article 39, the Assab question, the ethnic-federalism.

    But this does not mean that the current government shouldn’t try to enhance the status of the country, for example by building dams, and other infrastructures!

    To say the current government shall not be entrusted to undertake such very important infrastructures is denial of survival for the majority of Ethiopians. This is clearly wrong.

    I do not know from what perspective the literature you mentioned are applicable to the dam at hand. The dam site is sparsely populated; There was no major population center there, and it is very near to the boarder with Sudan-enabling for a win-win benefit for these two countries.

    Let me ask you one question: if this government shall not do this, who and when is this going to be done.

    concerning the financing, I think even Somalia can afford to collect 5bn US-Dollar over the five years, just see the money transfer from the USA and Europe every year–nearly $800mio per year. The key question is actually proper management!

    Please put forward facts, not junk-hunky and meaningless things


  17. Haltam
    | #17

    I appreciate your effort and time as well as the brevity and clarity of your well composed article with the exception of one paragraph. Perhaps it could have been more useful if it had been written unbiased and to the point, clearly supported with the facts to all conclusive remarks. Your emotional involvement in your writing is obvious throughout, and it does question your integrity reducing the effectiveness and usability of your thesis. Well-done Getachew!

  18. Yohanes
    | #18


    I don’t understand why you would be opposed to building a dam on the Nile ?

    Ethiopia needs energy for its growth and development. The only source of energy that we realistically can use is hydroelectricity.

    I would like to know what other alternatives you propose for Ethiopia ?

  19. Seifu
    | #19

    Look, Yohaness, They don’t have any vision or option for the country’s proprity Rather they want to see Ethiopia is always Underconflict, drought, starvation…..So that they would appear as politician Miracliouses to solve these problems with out any Power sources. Shame up on those who oppose Ethiopia’s Development. But whether they like it or not We , as ageneration, are in the front line to do and pay what soever Ethiopian demands from Us. Long live to My Country and its development.

  20. Adefris
    | #20

    To be sure, there are risks in investing in these bonds. However, the sentiment is not to grow rich through these bonds. It is to help mama Ethiopia build this dam. Whether or not we get back our money invested in these bonds, if the dam is built and Ethiopia moves forward, then it was worth it.

    But your point is taken regarding the rating of the government and the liklihood of repayment.

  21. cobera
    | #21

    I will never understand why anyone want to buy a bond that is seemingly meant to be used, fully instinctively knowing that the money they plan to collect by selling bond will be going to the coffer of the ethnic government. As we have already came to know, alone getting a “free money” sold in the name of building a dam, these are people from the first so called lady the wife of melese, who spent a $ 1,2 million in spree in shopping in Spain and making the Ethiopian Airlines to change its flight schedule just because she did not finish her sopping spree as well as, the so called disappearance of $ 8 billion, which is reported on European media or the so called disappearance a large tonnage amount of coffee in the thin air, or the selling of the so called orphans to the highest bidder a minimum being $ 30,000.- a baby, now the sly melese and his ethnic groups came with idea of fleecing Ethiopian by announcing the selling of bond to build the so called millennium dam. They already are selling Ethiopia to the highest bidder from Asia, the Middle East to come and rape the country at will by pushing the inhabitant out of their land, which all this the first in Ethiopian history. I am sure people are so misguided from what I read from few of the comment of the eventual building of Electric generating dam, while at the present time they are selling electric power the countries, in the mean time the cities in divided ethnic base killile have a black out and has been accepted as a matter of fact of life under the Tigrian government. Do not make me lough of asking me to buy a bond, from the very people who are themselves a super rich billions. Thanks, but no way I will give them to these greedy people who have no shame in proposing such a scheme, who came empty handed and now have become the richest people in the country trying to steal again from people. Shame, I say

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