GERD Impounded, Egypt’s Red Line and a Non-Deferent Ethiopia

Geopolitics Press
2 min readJul 22, 2021

This is an excerpt of this analysis posted in Geopolitics Press.

Egypt fears GERD will turn millions of Egyptians into jobless climate migrants, which will weaken the power of the military-backed government, and expose Egypt to inflationary pressure and economic ruin.

GERD after the second filling. Photo Credit: Ethiopia’s PMO.

Ethiopia is committed to filling GERD and bringing its electricity generation plants online so that it can have exportable power. It is engaged in resource diplomacy, while refusing to show deference to the Biden Administration and Egypt, a nation that fears GERD will turn millions of Egyptians into jobless climate migrants.

On July 19, 2021, the Ethiopian government announced the impounding and topping of GERD, in defiance of American and Egyptian demands. This suggests that the second filling of GERD is now complete, and the 2 installed hydraulic turbines can generate electricity for domestic use and export to Kenya. Nonetheless, there remains a question as to whether this second filling added 3 billion cubic meters (BCM) or 13.5 BCM of water.

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Hany — who in August 2017 deplored Egyptians for having “out-dated understandings” of a fast changing world — claimed that “Ethiopia failed miserably in completing the second filling” and that the total volume of water in GERD as at July 20, 2021, was “approximately seven billion cubic meters (for the first and second filling together)” and not the projected 18.5 BCM. He stated that this has happened because of infrastructural failure, which he attributed to “failure to complete the ramp work in the middle corridor” (ibid). These assertions contradict information published by the Ethiopian Press Agency, which stated that GERD “has reached 80 percent completion”.



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