The appointment of a Chief Negotiator and Adviser on GERD, Transboundary Rivers is a big statement for the nation to utilize its untapped water resources and defend its interests, a member of the GERD negotiation team said.
Following the formation of his new cabinet this week, PM Abiy Ahmed named the former Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Sileshi Bekele Chief Negotiator and Adviser on GERD, Transboundary Rivers.
Sileshi has been known for defending Ethiopia’s interest in utilizing its water resources at the international stage, especially at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on GERD.
He repeatedly urged the UNSC to encourage Egypt and Sudan to stick to the AU-led negotiation to seek a viable solution for the GERD issue.
Moreover, the former Water, Irrigation and Energy minister urged Egypt and Sudan to understand that a resolution to the Nile issue can only come from good faith negotiations under the auspices of the AU with due care for the well-being and development of each other.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Yacob Arsano, a member of the GERD negotiation team and senior water expert said the new office is “crucial for a country which is endowed with plenty of water resources.”
According to him, “though late the priority given to transboundary rivers is vital for the country with 97 percent of its waters flowing to neighboring countries.”
Such moves should be strengthened in the years to come because the construction of more dams will follow the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and office of a Chief Negotiator and Adviser on GERD, Transboundary Rivers will be critically significant.
The office has to be filled with well qualified human resources and special priority should be given to it as it is going to play a significant role in enabling effective utilization of the water resources of the nation in the years to come, Yacob elaborated.
The team to be led by the Chief Negotiator and Adviser on GERD, Transboundary Rivers has also to be well managed and supported by research in order to achieve its long-term goals, he added.
It is well known that Ethiopia, though endowed with abundant water, suffers from lack of power.
To partly alleviate the problem, the country is building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which has become a symbol of national unity and economic growth.
Ethiopia see the dam as a fundamental right, one that could bring electricity to the more than half of Ethiopians who don’t have access at home.