Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD): A Call for Successful Mediation to Create Full Agreement by All Involved on 28-29 January, 2020 in Washington D.C

22 mins read


Title: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD): A Call for Successful Mediation to Create Full Agreement by All Involved on 28-29 January, 2020 in Washington D.C

By  Mammo Muchie

(DST/NRF Research Professor on Innovation Studies, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa)


“The World Fears time
Time Fears History
History fears Ethiopia

Ethiopia by her suffering throughout her long history of independence has given spiritual (not material) strength and wealth to the world” (Mammo Muchie)

  1. Background

Ethiopia has not received the much needed and full support to complete the GERD on time until now. The GERD should have been completed three years ago in 2017. It is remarkable because of the lack of support mainly from the Government of Egypt and its close allies; the completion of GERD unfortunately has been far too much delayed. The Government of Egypt should refrain from continuing to delay the GERD and come fully on board knowing truly that the GERD is not just only for Ethiopia; it is a real treasure and asset for all in the River Nile region, Africa and the rest of the world.

Ethiopia and Sudan will surely welcome Egypt and they know GERD is beneficial to all and not just to Ethiopia, despite the fact Ethiopia is the principal driver of the GERD initiative. What benefits Ethiopia also benefits Egypt and conversely what benefits Egypt can benefit Ethiopia too. The win-win and mutually beneficial high way should prevail for all in the region rather than overloading it with the unnecessary selfish political consumption and traffic entirely free from any external interference. The recognition and acknowledgment by all in the region is much needed, that Ethiopia has the right to compensation to the Nile River water and the soil that cascades to Sudan and Egypt. The proper handling to stop the opposition to GERD in order to bring justice where all can gain can come when the Ethiopia that has been losing for years and years is compensated for both the water and soil.  Let all share and not take advantage and use unnecessary political moves to promote ethnic fracturing to divide Ethiopia. It is worrisome to read currently the media coverages that in 2020 the ethnic division that is also promoted with external actors in Ethiopia has been reported to become the biggest threat to the country.

Egypt and Ethiopia can draw lessons from Lesotho and South Africa. It is truly   an exemplary model to witness the mutual beneficial relation between Lesotho and South Africa. South Africa annually pays to Lesotho for the river water that flows from Lesotho to South Africa. Egypt should learn from South Africa and must agree to compensate Ethiopia for both the Nile River water and the cascading soil. This offer should have come from Egypt a long time ago. It is not late. Egypt needs to make a mind-set and paradigm shift to go from opposition and conflict by choosing to become a true and regular partner in supporting the construction of GERD without fail.


The South African President is going to become the chair of the Africa Union in February 2020.  The Prime Minister of Ethiopia has asked the president of South Africa in his role as chair of the Africa Union to assist in making sure there is collaboration to complete the GERD between Egypt and Ethiopia and both with Sudan. Ethiopia should consider its right of obtaining due compensation for its investment in the GERD project which is of benefit not only to Ethiopia but also to the Sudan and Egypt.

Although international conventions regarding riparian water rights accord benefits for all concerned adjacent countries, the specific applications depend on the extent to which each country exerts rights. Unfortunately, current and recent regimes in Ethiopia have not exerted the required influence to make sure Ethiopia also benefits. It is time that such an action is taken now with full agreement so the GERD can be completed mainly with full support from all Governments in the Nile River region. The Africa Union should facilitate and make sure the GERD construction is fully achieved by all in the region by avoiding external divisive influences.

There is now a mediation-taking place in Washington DC managed by the US Government Treasury involving Ethiopia with Egypt, Sudan, the U.S. Government and the World Bank to produce an agreement with a declaration to come out a Communique by 28-29 January 2020 signed by all the partners.

How it would have been truly, right if only the Nile River Regions could have taken time and solve any issues.  If the Nile River regions wish to involve others, it is strongly recommended that they request the Africa Union to join them and resolve any issues by taking all the time they need.

Let us hope that the mediation in Washington DC will recommend ways for the Nile River region countries to address the GERD construction time and learn to agree. The agreement must be fair, mutually beneficial, tangible, measurable, actionable and sustainable where all join to make sure the GERD can be completed fully as soon as possible.

We expect all those who will produce the communique in a week’s time to take the following recommendations that are now being shared to all involved to draft the communique in order to   open the opportunity for GERD to be fast-tracked and completed very soon free from all the conflicting politics.


II: Recommendation for a Successful Mediation on GERD

  1. GERD should not have been subjected to conflict. That was truly a big mistake. Those who made the mistake should acknowledge and come back to support the earliest possible completion of the GERD. There should have been engagement of all in the Nile region how best to generate hydroelectricity without any loss of water. In fact, there should have been applied research to make sure that more hydroelectric power can be generated with the increase in water volume as the region is bestowed with  winter and spring seasons when the Nile River Region is awash   with flood. The applied GERD project based action research should have also been used how to increase the water level even at the summer and drier time when there is no wet and flood. The entire weather pattern and climate can be examined systematically to make sure the water level is never reduced. There can be also solar panels that can be used to store the heat from the sun during hot seasons to retain the green zone on the ground and retain water. We have created the African solar energy network to harness the heat and light from the sun to create electricity and continue to use the land to produce as many fruits and crops as possible. (


  1. There are many possibilities and opportunities that the region as a whole can gain from GERD. What is lacking is focus to find real solutions to any problem. The much-needed applicable research is not often done. This is what should have been undertaken by joining the research team and not go alone by each side and come out with information to create problems rather than solutions. The power of knowledge should have been used to empower all the countries together rather than using the power of unnecessary and divisive politics, prejudice and selfish interest to divide and fight rather than build the GERD and unite.


  1. The filling of the dam can be accomplished with water gain by discovering the right and agreed high way to avoid water loss. What all of you must put in the Communique is that this opportunity for water gain rather than water loss is fully available. It is a matter of how on the journey all can agree to share and work to achieve high quality output on both the hydroelectricity and water level sides. In Japan, they can now recycle toilet water. There is no reason why we cannot apply engineering knowledge to make sure that the water level can continue to increase rather than play unnecessary politics by claiming building the dam brings risk rather than opportunity.


  1. The weather condition and climate can be thoroughly examined with now space satellites with remote sensing communications and a variety of ground and water level experiments that are waiting to be applied, used and assist to make sure the water is not only retained but also ways can be discovered to recycle the water and increase the level by regulating the flow annually.


  1. Consideration should be given to methodologies of saving the water being lost due to evaporation, to deal with the water flow value chain from Ethiopia to Egypt and the optimal waste management to address systematically the environmental challenges all the three countries face.


  1. The principle of mutual benefit must guide the relationship of all the countries that are now meeting to produce the final Communique to move forward with peace and security for all. It is critical to recognize no conflict is necessary to prevent the GERD to reach the final stage of completion.


  1. All the countries in the region such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan that share the waters of the Nile River along with the countries that are directly and indirectly involved (e.g. the USA, Israel and some of the countries in the Middle East) have to agree even when they disagree to re-agree to create a win-win outcome in every sphere related to the GERD. They all must clearly articulate this commitment in the coming communique.


  1. There is no justification in using any threats of violence, war and interference to fast track the full completion of the GERD by not losing more time anymore now.


  1. The interference in the internal politics to polarize by inflicting ethnic and religious divisions to distract Ethiopia from completing the GERD is a violation of human rights and international law. Governments that spearhead such interventions must stop and apologize for all the damage that Ethiopia has been continuing to suffer. The Communique should explicitly articulate the risk that Ethiopia has suffered and make it explicit that there will be no interference to promote tribal conflict in Ethiopia to distract Ethiopia from finalizing the completion of the GERD.


III: GERD: Resource to Generate Abundance of Electricity and Water


  1. GERD will not reduce the water level. In fact, the engineering design and model can be framed in such a way that GERD’s hydroelectricity can come with the increase rather than the decrease of the water level in the Nile River region as a whole.


  1. The communique should explicitly recommend for all the Governments of the Nile region to apply science, technology, engineering and innovation to understand the space, the land and the water in the Nile River region to generate hydroelectric power by increasing the water level rather than reducing it. If all the politicians from all the countries involved can agree to apply scientific knowledge rather than entering into conflict, there will be absolutely no reason to prevent the GERD from being completed as soon as possible.


  1. GERD can in fact make it possible for Egypt to get even more water than what it is getting now. What is needed is to create the dam without any sabotage to facilitate both the provision of water and electricity. The engineering to store the water is not difficult. What is very damaging is the unnecessary politics that the politicians and media play. The politicians, the extremists and media preferred to promote ethnic political division openly to hurt and divide Ethiopia rather than learning to agree on how best both electricity and water can be shared. What cost is involved and how best to agree to share the needed cost? South Africa pays annually to Lesotho for the water that flows to them. The Nile River water is the source of life for Egypt that flows from Ethiopia. Egypt too like South Africa does should have paid. In the Communique on 28-29, 2020, Egypt should agree to contribute and agree to pay even for all the years it has shared the water of the Nile River.


  1. Egypt should also commit to contribute for building GERD rather than opposing and delaying it any more. Egypt should learn from China that contributed to help build the renaissance dam on time to make all in the region benefit from the provision of preserved water with the dam. It is much better to create and use the dam and reservoir than relying on downstream water levels that flow at different rates depending on the cycle of dry and wet season.


  1. The communique should also advise all the regional countries never to fail to find restorative and rehabilitative justice to resolve any differences. They must all apply the rich spiritual heritage that promotes African values, traditions and associational culture to do the needed, necessary and honestly done mediation and resolve any problem by addressing systematically all the issues to move forward together by all undertaking a shared future.


  1. The Communique should clearly articulate a road map of how all the Nile River Regional states can deal with any difference with one another from here on. It is better they do it themselves than involving all other external actors.


  1. If the outsiders are to get involved, be good if the AU can be recommended to handle it. It will be good to find African solutions to African problems.


  1. We appreciate all who can contribute to make sure all the regional states are engaged to solve problems rather than create problems. Let all in the Nile region create unity, rather than division, create peace rather than war, undertake  sustainable and enduring engagement to make the people to be innovative, inventive, and  integrative  to make  sustainable and transformative development future  for all by making the health, safety and prosperity of  all the people the priority of priorities.


  1. The inspiring part of the GERD is how the payment for the construction has been made. There is no aid requested. It is the people that contribute. Those from outside also do not give loans, they contribute like China did.


  1. Payment for the GERD construction should continue without bringing loan, aid, and debt. Encouragements are needed to make all the people to contribute and make them all proud together they have made history by the completed achievement of the GERD construction.


  1. We ask Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to become three as one and one as three united firmly, anchored to promote the well-being of the people and the safety of the water, soil and nature to make the GERD construction done now without taking any more time with full agreement. All those from Africa and the rest of the world are welcome to contribute but not to lend loans and create debt. GERD must be purely a people’s project done by the people and for all the people.


IV: Concluding Remarks

We are all eagerly looking forward that the expected Communique will recommend strongly for GERD to be delayed never and to be implemented soonest ever. The agreement must be based on clear principle and value to make sure mutual benefit comes first and guides the shared route to achieve the construction of the GERD. Any conflict must be resolved with the principle, culture, grace and value of reconciliation and virtue. The GERD is a real asset not just for Ethiopia but also for all. Let peace prevail and GERD be achieved and done, now, now and now.


Mammo Muchie

Prof. Mammo Muchie, DPhil

DST/NRF SARChI Research Professor on Science, Technology, Innovation and Development: Tshwane University of Technology, Adjunct Professor in BDU & Harmaya, Ethiopia, and Riara University in Kenya, and Associate Faculty Professor, Sussex University, U.K.  (


Website:, and


NB: Sincere appreciation to all of you who sent me your comments and feedback.


  1. ” All involved ” are way too many to show up in this short notice , so whatever comes out of MAMMO M.’s intellectual Network discussion event to be held in the middle of a work week of 1/2020 at WASHINGTON DC USA, is for sure not expected TO include the opinions of the “all involved” .. The above recommendations are a drop in the bucket full of recommendations the “all involved” made .. .

    Many BOND purchasers want their money back now!!!

    Full audit report of finances and inspection result OF QUALITY standard of the dam construction need to be made Public knowledge!!


  3. In the year 2016 six million five hundred thousand US Dollars ($6.5 million USD dollars) LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT was paid to all USA residents that bought the gets dam BOND meaning noone in USA is entitled to ask anymore money for purchasing bond , that’s why DC USA SCHOLar diasporas are the only IDEAL people TO hold impartial discussion in regards to gerd dam .

    Moguldom › ethiopia-refund-6-…
    Ethiopia To Refund $6.5M It Raised In A Diaspora Bond In The U.S. – MOGULDOM

  4. I always enjoy reading articles penned by patriot Obbo Mammo bin Muchie and get educated by the material in them. I find him in this article looking at the dam from both perspectives, one from the old country Ethiopian side and the other one from the Egyptian side. Both have plausible reasons to jolt their raw emotions. Those of you who have(had) the chance to live in both countries(born and resided) can understand why this river is(can be) more than the economics of it. One country is desperate to take its exploding population out of nagging and abject poverty through booming industrialization which the only sensible way out. It needs electricity in tens of thousands of megawatts for that purpose alone. That in turn requires the harnessing of all of its available natural resources which will give rivers the front seat.

    On the other hand, Egypt is no doubt dependent on the water of this mighty river for its very existence. That is no laughing matter. This dependence did not start in the 1920’s or 1950’s but it has been so since the dawn of its history. It has more than 100 million very volatile population crammed on top of each other alongside the Nile River. Right now all these people do not have an alternative source for fresh potable water or for other needs including irrigation. It also needs the nutrients in the silt hauled away from the old country by the Blue Nile. So much has been said and written about that. But such a situation does not and should not warrant schemes to destabilize others or the beating of drums of war. If military conflict erupts and a state of war exists between these two countries, Egypt will throw itself in insurmountable dire straits. The old country will not lose something it already has but it will lose what it is going to have. Self educating on this matter is needed more on the Egyptian side. It seems that its rulers have made military threats and muscle show-offs thinking that will throw the people of the old country into total submission. I was reading news on some of their Arabic newspapers a few days ago and came across one splashing story. It tells the inauguration of a new modern, expansive military base in the southeast part of the country along the Red Sea shoreline. I love to read the self aggrandizement and the pomposity in it!!! I feel like I am watching one of those Mel Brook’s slapstick movies. The story tells about the capacities of the spanking military base where modern fighter jets can land and takeoff at will. Then I asked myself the cardinal questions. Why the need for that? Who is Egypt afraid of? Israel has not been an enemy since the truce both countries signed in 1979 and have been in excellent working relationship since then. So who is Egypt nervous about? The next news we gonna hear about another expansive military base can be on its Southwest and Southern borders. What the old country and the rest of the world should keep an eye is on Egypt’s military activities including any development of weapons of mass destruction. Its leader have been so reckless in their military adventures culminating in the humiliating defeats in the hands of ragtag militias of Northern Yemen during the years 1965-67 and when their army of tens of thousands was made the butt of town with military experts by a mere thousand Israeli soldiers in 1967. They even had used banned chemical warfare in their faceoff with the North Yemeni ragtag militias in the 1960’s but that did not save them from utter humiliation. In any case any violent conflict that may come out of this back-and-forth will have devastating effect on all countries but more so on Egypt. But this should not wrongly embolden the leaders of the old country to become stubborn during the negotiations. I think both patriots H.E. Obbo Gedu and H.E. Obbo Seleshi have shown the qualities of level heads already. It shows our legendary cultivation!!!!

    I wish them all the best!!!!


    Ethiopia: Gadhafi’s fall and Meles Zenawi

    By Eskinder Nega
    Nero was famously eccentric in Roman times. He longed to be remembered for his theatrical abilities rather than leadership of one of the world’s greatest empires. But his other quirks were more horrifying than amusing. He imagined, for example, an implausible bed—yes, bed— which would commit murder. And there were the psychotic eccentricities of Russia’s Ivan the terrible who, as legend has it, had an elephant killed for refusing to bow to him.

    Modern times’ eccentrics have generally been less deadly. There is, for instance, Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian asylum seeker who lived in the departure lounge of Charles de Gaulle’s Airport for many years. (He inspired Tom Hank’s fictional 2004 movie, The Terminal.)

    At the opposite end of the pole, though, the modern age also has Libya’s ominous Muammar Gadhafi as a world famous eccentric.

    Gadhafi was born in the great Saharan desert in 1942. His parents were Arabized Berbers. Libya was under the inept rule of Fascist Italy back then. But twenty years later, in 1961, with the first wave of decolonization on the verge of sweeping Africa, Libya was hastily transformed into an independent, and hopefully conservative, Kingdom by Western powers. But with next door revolutionary Egypt exciting passions across the Arab world, a revolution in Libya was only inevitable from the very outset.

    Inspired by the success of Egypt’s Nasser and his free officers in the mid-fifties, radicalized young Arabs joined their countries’ militaries with the hope of eventually using them as revolutionary weapons, too.

    And so a Nasser-awed, aspiring revolutionary Gadhafi, one of many like-minded youth in the Middle East, made his way to his nation’s military academy, where he was promptly accepted. Eight years later he was unexpectedly running Libya. Even he hadn’t planned it this way, though. It was a feat worthy more of fate than earthly being. Gadhafi was only 27.

    His eccentricities were not really evident at first. But in retrospect, perhaps there was an early sign at Nasser’s funeral. Nasser died of a sudden heart attack only a year after Gadhafi’s accession to power in 1969. The Arab world was stunned. He had just presided over a pan-Arabic summit. Tens of thousands poured spontaneously into the streets all over the Arab world wailing in utter grief. On the day of the funeral, five million came out to pay their respects. And while tears rolled down the faces of PLO’s Chairman Arafat and Jordan’s King Hussein, the Arab world’s newest leader, Gadhafi, fainted twice. An unusually passionate man had come to power in Libya.

    Over the next forty years he would go on to amuse the world with his all-female bodyguards; his “voluptuous Ukrainian nurses;” his outrageous statements (“HIV is a peace virus;”) pitched tents from where he conducted state business; and, of course, his memorably colorful attires.

    But there were also his less amusing internal polices and blood-tainted foreign adventures. Though himself one of the Berbers, North Africa’s indigenous ethnic groups, he systematically suppressed their languages and cultures. (He called it “poison.”)He killed internal dissidents at will; those who escaped to exile were assassinated. His intelligence agents planted bombs on Pan AM flight 103, which blew over Lockerbie, in Scotland, killing hundreds. Obviously, the value of life carried little weight with him.

    This reckless disregard for human life was again apparent in the early days of February 2011 when serious protests, inspired by the Arab Spring, against his forty years rule broke out in several cities. He struck with vengeance. And when protests threatened to overwhelm him, he recruited mercenaries to shed more blood. He counted on the potency of mass murder and apathy of the international community to prevail. But he calculated wrong.

    Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi, who now leads Africa’s largest dictatorship, and who many suspect is calculating as Gaddafi did at first, should take serious note.

    Killings enraged Libyans as it did Tunisians and Egyptians before them. Inexplicably and suddenly massacre failed to terrorize the young any more. Despite Gadhafi’s assertion that only a drugged youth could have refused to succumb to live bullets, hope is really what had fueled the protests.

    Eric Hoffer had famously argued that it was hope not oppression that had made revolutions possible. And indeed neither Egyptians nor Libyans had more reason to rebel in 2011 than they did for decades. Too few were any more capable of imagining life free from the oppressive status-quo. Too many had been co-opted; many more had simply learned how to muddle through. But events in Tunisia changed everything. Change was proved possible. The people mattered, after all. And hope was born in the Arab world. There was then really nothing Gadhafi could have done to fundamentally change the course of events. Even without NATO’s involvement he could only have delayed not prevented his regime’s eventual demise. Hope is insuppressible. The surprise swift fall of Tripoli into rebel hands, despite numerous predications of a stalemate, underscores this fact.

    Hope will come to sub-Sahara’s remaining dictatorships, too. The Arab Spring has already brought it to their doorsteps. It will not wait forever to get in. No one knows which sub-Saharan dictatorship will relent first. But that is almost irrelevant. What matters is that its spread will be unavoidable once it begins. The triumph of hope in only one sub-Saharan dictatorship will beget a continent wide African Spring, hopefully all peaceful. And as Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest dictatorship during Mubarak’s reign, was the Arab Spring’s golden prize, so will Ethiopia, sub-Sahara’s biggest dictatorship, be the golden prize for an African Spring. There couldn’t have been an Arab Spring without Egypt. There will be no African Spring without Ethiopia.

    Hopefully, Meles understands this and is willing to do his country and Africa one big favor. When the time arrives, the inevitable must not be futilely resisted. This is the crucial lesson that should be learned from Gadhafi’s needlessly destructive finale. Ethiopia must and should avoid violence. If Ethiopia shuns violence so will most of sub-Sahara Africa. And only then will the advent of the African Spring be even better news than that of the Arab Spring.

  6. quoting oneself in the way you Did is not a sign of good intelLectual character. ONly fake intellectuals do that. And your so called “inspiratioN” is a cheap shot, another character that defines fake intellectuals.

  7. “Ethiopia has need of no one. She stretches out her hands to God” — Emperor Menelik, February, 1897

    “There was never a time when united that Ethiopians lost to an enemy; it is non-existent in history”–Emperor Menilek II, 1909

    “Those who are strong, support us with your strength. Those who are weak, support us with your prayers” — Emperor Menelik

    “I am a woman. I do not like war. But I would rather die than accepting your deal”– Etige Taitu Bitul, Wife of Menelik II

    “Although it had been conquered dozens of times, Ethiopia was the birthplace of African nationalism.” —Nelson Mandela

    “So lofty was the status of Ethiopia in the African diaspora that it sometimes was synonymous with Africa itself”—Raymond Jonas

    “Ethiopia was one of the few nation-states under African control. Many people of African ancestry embraced it as evidence of the black capacity for self-rule” –Asante

    “Adwa Victory made Africa a victor, not a victim” —Former President Dr. Thabo Mbeki

    “Better to continue learning our history to know ourselves to make a positive difference to the Africana world’s bright future” — Mammo Muchie

    “Ethiopia has a unique distinction in the universe for empowering those that were disempowered, for humanising those that were dehumanised, spiritualising those that were denied their right to worship God and inspiring and strengthening those oppressed to resist oppression” —Mammo Muchie

    Relevant educational Links on great Adwa Victory

  8. Mammo Muchie, Seid Hassan and Minga Negash*

    The 1929 Nile water allocation agreement that was signed by Egypt and the United Kingdom (which excluded Ethiopia and nearly all other upper basin countries) allocated 48 billion (65%) cubic meters of water per year to Egypt and 4 billion to the Sudan. The 1959 agreement between Egypt and the Sudan raised the share to 55.5 (75%) billion and 18.5 billion cubic meters to Egypt and the Sudan, respectively. This agreement also excluded all the other upper Nile riparian nations. Egypt wants to keep the colonial-era agreements and the 1959 accord.

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