Ethiopia’s Dam Problem – Debating Gilgel Gibe

Above: The Gibe III dam is under construction on the Omo
River, approximately 300km southwest of Addis Ababa. It is the
third in a series of cascading hydroelectric projects in the region.
(Source: BBC)

Opinion: Ethiopia’s Gibe III dam: a balanced assessment
LA Times

A project its size will have negative consequences, but Ethiopians
should be better off once the hydroelectric dam is up and running.

By Seleshi Bekele and Jonathan Lautze
June 4, 2009

The Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric dam under construction in Ethiopia is no small piece of infrastructure. It holds the potential to fundamentally alter flow patterns in the Omo River watershed and will cost about $2 billion to build. It will indeed have impacts — both positive and negative — on the environment and people living in the watershed.

Yet, do these facts make the project inherently bad? Does the fact that the investment is big and costly doom it to failure? In her May 14 Times Op-Ed article, Lori Pottinger uses such thinking to argue that the African Development Bank and U.S. government should not finance the dam’s construction and instead look for alternatives to address Ethiopia’s water and environmental needs.

Read more.

Big dam, bigger problems
By Lori Pottinger
May 14, 2009

Right now, the Obama administration is participating in its first annual meeting of the African Development Bank, which is mandated to fund critical infrastructure for poor African nations. On the agenda is financing one of the biggest projects ever considered by the bank, the $2.1-billion Gilgel Gibe III dam in Ethiopia. Read more. Ethiopia – Friends of Gibe Full steam ahead

Leftist environmental wackos are hard at work to stop Ethiopia from developing and nazret is re-running the following article to reinforce its strong support of the construction of Gilgel Gibe III. Today another leftist writes in the Los Angeles Times trying to stop Ethiopia from this project. Don’t let foreigners dictate what Ethiopia can and can’t do. It is with the utmost humility that I ask our readers and experts in this field to submit articles to the international media and also contact African Development Bank in support of Gilgel Gibe. We must win the media war waged by the so-called environmentalists who quite honestly don’t give a squat about Ethiopia. As Ato Semon beautifully crafted in the article below Full steam ahead. Read the piece at

What do you say?

49 Responses to “Ethiopia’s Dam Problem – Debating Gilgel Gibe”

  1. 1 Wolde Woubneh May 14th, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    There is chronic shortage of power in the country and the neighboring countries.
    Why not build it. It would be the HOOVER Dam of the continent. It can be useful force for regional development. There has been environmental impact study of the dam. It shows little effect on the environment. If you compare the advantage with the disadvantages there is no comparison the advantages out weigh the disadvantages.

    Ethiopia need to establish the stock market so that everyone can participate in the construction and profits afterwards. I am for it.

    Wolde Woubneh,

  2. 2 beles abbay May 14th, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I am familiar with this area and there is nothing natural as building this dam at this place. Unfortunately poor management, lack of transparency and most probably a whole lot of corruption on the part of the authorities might have doomed this project. The problem of the dam emanates from poor management, nothing else.

  3. 3 kebede May 14th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I admire the initiative. We should write articles in support of the project. Foreigners don’t have the right to choose what is good for Ethiopia. But i just wonder where the educated people are? They are fast in opposing Meles Zenawi. But they write nothing in support of the project

  4. 4 Tina May 14th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    “Ethiopian government officials told the BBC that proper environmental studies were simply ‘luxurious preconditions’.” Are you kidding me? ‘luxurious preconditions’?? If true, this must be one of the most ignorant comments.

    “Gibe III will change forever the Lower Omo River Valley, one of the world’s most isolated regions. It is the homeland of a handful of indigenous communities, half a million farmers, herders and fishermen who are largely untouched by modern society. Damming the Omo will wreak havoc with its natural flood cycles, which underlie the cultures and the traditional “flood retreat” farming practices of the Mursi, Bodi, Kara and other communities along it.” (Lori Pottinger, LA Times, May 14, 2009)

    No one is saying it should not be built to benefit Ethiopia. But the project has to make economic, environmental, and long term sense. Most importantly, it should not wreak havoc on the people who live there. Forget your heart, just use your brain. Does this make sense to you?

    “By any measure, Gibe III is a lousy investment. It is the third element in a massive five-part dam project on the Omo River and its tributaries. The Ethiopian government wants to generate power, in part for export, by “taming” the Omo. But this is the most poorly planned hydropower project being built on the continent today. The government has cut corners in its preparation, increasing its risks of economic and technical failure, and it has done next to nothing to reduce the project’s massive ecological and social footprint.” (Pottinger)

    How do you answer this compelling question? With all due respect, the author is not a “wako”. Can we just get along?

    Gibe requires more answers.

    Another environmentalist wako, lol

    Am I really the wako one?

  5. 5 Nahom May 14th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Go ahead Gilge Gibe III. Let western talk and let just built the dam and electrify our country. At the moment out of 80 million people only 20% getting electricity the rest no electricity. They are using fire wood to get light and you can just imagine how it is affecting the environment.
    When Gibe completed it will make a lot of difference.

  6. 6 elleni May 15th, 2009 at 2:23 am

    I strongly agree with those that support the building of the dam.

    those ppl who oppose the building of the dam are the once who have not seen what it means to live in a country where there is no electric light, no water sometimes b/c of the shortage of electricity. moreover the power generation does return the water to the river and the water would definetly reduce, but not to the extent that the bbc reporter has predicted. environmental studies have been made by the ethiopian government.

    those who oppose the building of the dam are the ones who doesn’t want Ethiopia to be developed and come out of poverty.

    they are the ones who want ethiopia to live in the dark – I wonder if the bbc reporter is willing to live in a county where ther is no electricity even for the basic necessity as running water

  7. 7 Ethiopian May 15th, 2009 at 2:37 am

    I agree with the LA times article!

  8. 8 ayele aberra May 15th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    well what do we know about havo? the ethiopian history of chain disasters and uneducated leaders to deal with the crises has made us look like the most stupid people in the world. our problems is so great and desperate i would not even care if they say the moon is going to disappear as a conciquence of building the dam.

    ethiopia is moving forword for the first time in history. let us be part of it. we won’t be like dubai overnight but it is the start and lets make a healthy path and a peace full one for the next generation even with out the moon.

    unite we stand or else we fall.

    one love

  9. 9 aGilGil May 15th, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Be weary of western NGOs and their know it all proscriptions for our country. These people are vipers and should not be trusted. They talk about preserving environment all the while their home countries have already destroyed the Earth. They talk about good investment while our people lack water, electricity and hope. They talk so many things yet they themselves have no wisdom.

    No project of this magnitude can be implemented without it some group not liking it. what must be considered is the benefit to the most people possible. The people of the Omo valley may have to adjust a bit their lifestyle, but in the long run this is the sort of development they (and the rest of Ethiopia) need. The author seems to think the Omo should be a little tourist novelty for people to come and take pictures of. Ha!

  10. 10 Chuni May 15th, 2009 at 6:42 am

    How do we know the money is being spent properly? how about the people who live there? what happens to them?

  11. 11 Adane May 15th, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Gibe III is an indication of what awaits Ethiopia. It is an indication of the future fate of the Blue Nile. Ethiopia needs such type of mega projects.

    Given the foul cry of the Environmentalists for minor and insignificant issues, one cannot undertake any meaningful project any where in the world. For that matter, these people are making any scientific advancement very difficult. They just love to criticize; and they do not substantiate their criticism with any tangible evidence or scientific research. They just make criticisms aimed at promoting the position of their sponsors. I suspect Lori Pottinger and her likes may be funded by groups or countries that do not like to see the development of Ethiopia such as Egypt; may be they are citizens of such country or have some form of allegiance with these countries.

    The good thing is we have an excellent son of Ethiopia by the name Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabeher (the brother of Sebehat Gegre Egziabeher). He is, among other things, the Chair of the third world forum, which includes China and India, organized to form a united position against the West regarding environmental issues. He is one of the top- notch experts regarding Environmental issues in the world. What Lori Pottinger and her likes do not know is that they are going to contend with this formidable expert.

    A loan from African Development Bank or not, Gibe III must be finalized. So all Ethiopians of all political colors must join hands to see to it that Gibe III is finalized in due time. Therefore, I think a forum should be created where we can meaningfully contribute to the success of the project, and challenge the unreasonable positions of persons like Lori Pottinger.

  12. 12 Sam May 15th, 2009 at 8:25 am

    2 Billion dollar dam in Ethiopia? Holly cow? Do they know 50% of the people are on food aid welfare? What a priority? Brilliant, guys, brilliant

  13. 13 Bisha May 15th, 2009 at 9:11 am


    Your point is well taken, except your argument is counter productive. Do you think you can make your point by insulting a woman you have never even met? As far as I am concerned that is as Un-Ethiopian as it can get. I support the building of the Damn, but you do not speak for me as an Ethiopian.

    “I suspect Lori Pottinger and her likes may be funded by groups or countries that do not like to see the development of Ethiopia such as Egypt”. What? What evidence do you have? please stop this nonsense and stupidity.

    The woman made an educated and expert argument. She did not insult anyone. Stop being emotional and make your argument with respect and educate the woman about your point of view. Insulting is not communication and does not advance your argument. What part of her argument is wrong? I am sure she will give you an answer. You may learn a thing or two from her. After all, Lori Pottinger is the head of the Southern Africa programs at International Rivers Network in Berkeley, California, and the editor of the group’s newsletter, World Rivers Review. IRN works to stop destructive river development schemes around the world, to support local communities whose cultures and ecosystems depend on rivers, and to support the worldwide struggle for environmental integrity and social justice.

    Free exchange of information is power! Even if it is something you don’t agree with.

  14. 14 hiwot May 15th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Dear Tina, I’m sure you mean well but it seems you would rather see the frail humble starving image of the hungry poor Ethiopian with no clothes or water to drink, but let me tell you something Ethiopia was a nation when people were still living in caves in Europe, Ethiopia was a civilized country who embraced Christianity when people were pagans. The country has been independent since the ancient Egyptian era and does not need any so called ‘ethical expert opinion’ from hippies who would rather see Ethiopia begging for food aid.

  15. 15 Asrat May 15th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Help!” Home to indigenous people UNTOUCHED BY CIVILIZATION……and their TRADITIONAL farming culture ” is about to change.I’m sure it’s a nice point of interest to visit/study life in the stone age ; but a meager, harsh, and unforgiving existence to those who live it, and have lived it tens of thousands of years. And even worse for a government to accept. I’m sure the Rivers organization mean well but this is absurd. As obvious as LIGHT and DARKNESS. Welcome to the 21st century , and please keep it green (as in HYDRO ELECTRIC) And LESS CARBON FOOT PRINT.

  16. 16 Zemecha May 15th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    First of all, why are we asked to be patriotic and support a dam when we don’t even have human rights? Who is the dam for? I suspect the 2 billion dollar is going the pockets of some corrupt officials. As an Ethiopian American, I ask my government to withhold the money from the African Development Fund until the following conditions are met. In fact, as a tax payer, I demand the following preconditions for the use of my tax money. As an American citizen, I have the right to request this.

    Number 1: There must be clear accountability and independent auditing by a U.S. firm of how all this money is being spent (Sorry but I can’t trust internal audit in Ethiopia)

    Number 2: We need a clear environmental and social impact study of the project

    Number 3: The project should be put on hold until after next year’s election.

    The other option is for Ethiopia to pay for it. If the gov is begging for for money, then, the above condition must be met.

    Long live the Ethiopian people!

  17. 17 zakir May 15th, 2009 at 9:40 am

    To Tina and the likes

    Your pretension is just a joke. We have to leave any decision to the traditional people. Imagine they are not endemic wild animal just they are human being with human mind. They have to prefer which life style would be for them. But the infrastructure should be available for them as the rest of the Ethiopian society because they have the right to get it.

    But any forceful action is not acceptable. You are trying to decide the fate of these society, which is joke.

    It has been said repeatedly that the project has no impact on the ecosystem. see

    There are tremendous studies that approve this conclusion. So, if you don’t accept, it is up to you. No single Ethiopian wants to hear such joke.

    We are preparing to construct Gibe IV and V. Gibe III is about to finalize.

    God bless Ethiopia.

  18. 18 Belshader Bereket May 15th, 2009 at 9:43 am

    This is a very expensive project. I am sure it has long term benefits, but it could also have very bad consequences. That’s why you conduct a study before you embark on a huge project like this. What is the positive? And What is the negative? It is not a luxury. There is no short cut. To describe the necessary environmental and feasibility study as “luxury”, is indeed ignorant. And to the person who said it, the job is obviously above his/her pay grade. They should have been fired on the spot. There is a place to start for this project. Let’s bring in a whole new team. Let’s start from scratch.

  19. 19 Tekle May 15th, 2009 at 9:47 am

    During the Derg regime similar allegations were propagated about Tana Beles Project by
    Egypt with the help of Western media outlets to discourage the development effort of the then military government.

    If we look back the history of the construction of most of the world’s biggest dams almost all of them have some kind of negative economic,cultural or ecological impact to their surroundings. The Hoover dam in the U.S.,the Asswan dam in Egypt and recently the worlds biggest the Three Gorges Dam in China can be mentioned as examples.

    As an individual I strongly support the effort of the Ethiopian government. This is not a matter of politics it is clearly a matter of development. In order to raise the level of the life standard of the Ethiopian people we need to construct more dams for irrigation and energy production.The availability and consumption of energy is the key indicator of the poor and the wealthy nations.

    I am not arguing that this project will not affect the environment or the people around it, but we need to weigh its contribution to the survival and development of the country against the foul cry of the so called environmentalists. We have the right to develop our resources. No one has the right to tell as what to do or not to do. For that matter I don’t think the so called Western environmentalist groups has the moral qualification to criticize us in destroying the environment. Let them look towards them selves before they open their mouth to talk about others.

    My biggest fear about the success or failure of this project is the corruption and the inefficient bureaucracy of the government.

  20. 20 Danny May 15th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I don’t understand the debate. Is the bridge already finished? Or do you run out of money? Why do you build bridge when you dont’ have the money? I don’t get it…

  21. 21 TEDDY May 15th, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Ethiopia can not afford not to have GIBE III

    Beside the immediate benefit of Gibe III, generating electricity and regulating omo river, Gibe III is an important project in building the financial and technical capability of the nation in developing the country’s water resource. All Ethiopia from every political spectrum has to condemn the activity of those trying to block the fund for this project. Every development has a significant impact on the environment, but the measure to accept the project to be environmentally friendly is the extent of the benefit with respect to its negative consequence. If we come up to compare project with Gibe III scale and their environmental impact. By fare Gibe III is more friendly. Aswan Dam only from Reserviour area displace more than the total people to be affected by Gibe.

    As a responsible citizen we have to share the environmental concern, but poverty and lack to basic service are the worst situations to the degradation of the environment. Therefore we have to scale up our voice in support of this project and let those ill intentioned activities know the reality.

  22. 22 Adane May 15th, 2009 at 10:31 am


    You do not read properly what I have written. No where did I write that “I speak for you.” As an Ethiopian citizen, I speak for myself. Besides, my statement about Lori is not conclusive; do you know what the phrase “may be” means? Moreover, your position is inconsistent in a sense that you found the argument of Lori as “an educated and expert argument” (first sentence of third paragraph), but you “support the building of the dam” (last sentence of first paragraph). On top of these, I did not mention the name and top-notch expertise of Dr. Tewolde for nothing: He said his agency, The Ethiopian Environment Protection Agency, assessed the Environmental Impact of the Project and found out that is “ok”. So why should I give more weight to Lori’s statement than to Dr. Tewolde? I believe him, instead of a person who wants to say something in the disguise of Scientific research from the ivory towers of California.

  23. 23 Damn Dam May 15th, 2009 at 1:03 pm


    It is a damn dam to build. Look, you can’t solve the problem by shouting. For most Ethiopians, this issue is not that complicated. Stop blaming the west for Ethiopia’s problems. The international advocates of peace are important for the masses of Ethiopians who have no say on anything in their own home land, let along this “dam to no where”. No way, no gibe without transparency. What are you saying papa? Human Rights Watch imprisoned Birtukan (the oppostion leader) Teddy Afro, and Ginbot 7? Now, do you really expect your old and tired propaganda to work? The intentions of good and kind and smart people like Lori Pottinger is good for voiceless Ethiopians?

    This is the biggest failed project in Africa’s history?

    It is a damn dam to build.

  24. 24 Mekuria May 15th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    When Egypt built the Aswan dam, which I had the opportunity to visit several years ago, a similar crisis occurred. Nubian villages in the region were completely submerged in water, the residents had to be evacuated, and the Nubian way of life was destroyed. Historically, there have been numerous examples of these types of landscape and social transformations resulting from human and technological intervention. One may call this a “creative destruction,” I am not suggesting that it is justified. When western societies were industrializing, they went through similar transformations as well, to the skeptics, perhaps reading history books would come in handy. Or think of Native Americans who have been removed from their natural environment and are now stuck in reservations, on toxic land where they are victims of cancer, diabetes and alcoholism. Although the issue is a rather thorny one and very difficult to resolve through intellectual debates, I am very suspicious of the so called green and Western environmentalists who globe trot around the world trying to implement their bankrupt and self-serving policies in different parts of the so-called “developing” nations in the name of altruism. This does not mean that their intentions are always harmful or self centered.

    Thank you “Tadias” for providing this discussion forum!

  25. 25 Adane May 15th, 2009 at 5:30 pm


    There are persons who say a respect for human rights should be given priority over economic development. There are also persons who say economic development should be given primacy over human rights. As I understand from my reading of your comment, it seems you belong to the former category. The ruling party in Ethiopia, on other hand, seems to belong to the latter category. For me these choices are false dilemmas; as far as I am concerned, it is possible to respect human rights and achieve economic development side by side.

    I am one of the ardent critics of the ruling party in Ethiopia. I clearly stated this in my first comment. I don’t know why the Editor/publisher of Tadias does want none of it. Let me retreat my position: I am a supporter of Ginbor 7. But I am not a blind supporter. In issues involving long term national interest, I side with even with the ruling party in Ethiopia if I feel that the position they are holding is good for the long term interest of our country. As I see it, members of the ruling parties in Ethiopia are “our SOBs.”

    Here is a brief resume of Lori Pottinger: “Ms. Pottinger has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University, and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Pottinger is an Editor of World Rivers Review and Africa Campaigns. Ms. Pottinger is the editor of International Rivers’ quarterly publication, World Rivers Review and of our annual Dams, Rivers and People reports. She also works on International Rivers’ Africa program. Since joining International Rivers in 1995, she has worked to raise international awareness about the problems with large dams in Africa. Key campaigns include the Bujagali Dam in Uganda; the giant Lesotho Highlands Water Project (read a personal essay about her field visit there); and the proposed Mphanda Nkuwa Dam in Mozambique (watch a video interview with her on this project). After so many years with the organization, she still finds it challenging and satisfying; right now, she is especially excited about the prospects for energy efficiency.”

    I know the position held by Lori is not her personal position. I also know that one’s qualification does not justify or disqualify one’s statements. I also concede that her statement may be the result of the study of experts under her. But given the fact that the organization of Ms. Lori criticizes each and every dam project in the world, especially in the developing world, I am suspicious of their motives. And I have the right to be suspicious.

    I did not make the West responsible for every ills of the third world. As far as I am concerned, the cause of our problems are partly internal and partly external.

    Any way let us not drag the discussion into the level of personal feuds.

    Mekuria, thank you. Your comment is neutral and matured.

  26. 26 Bisha May 15th, 2009 at 6:14 pm


    I am more suspicious of your motives than Lori Pottinger, whom incidentally and according to you holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University, and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley (I would say she is qualified). You are either confused or has personal interest in this no good project. There is no such thing as our SOBs? SOBs are SOBs wherever they come from or whatever their nationality. Please don’t bring narrow ethnic politics on the world stage. This is the 21st Century, Papa.

  27. 27 Observer May 15th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    There is no question that Ethiopia needs to harness its natural resources to develop its infrastructure and improve the quality of life for those in the country. But it is equally important to question the usefulness of any project. Especially if it is being billed for the good of the people. Is there an alternative to displacing thousands of people for a project that may or may not work? Of course, supporters urge to hate and dismiss those that disagree with their agenda as “wakos” and “hippies”. I think it is a shame that people turn to insult when they have no legitimate argument to stand on. Oh yeah, “they hate us”. We (Ethiopians in collective) supposed to group-think that environmentalist “hate Ethiopia”. Why do they hate us? We are told, just for the hell of it, or because they are not Ethiopian.

    Don’t you believe this ppl. Why not give the ppl of Ethiopia and the Gibe region 2 billion dollars solar panels? The best short cut without “the luxury preconditions of Environmental impact study”.

    With 2 BILLION DOLLARS you can electrify the whole Ethiopia without destroying the natural beauty and without displacing the people. Let’s come up with new age solutions for age old problem.

    One love!
    P.S. The best quote on this topic so far: “SOBs are SOBs” no matter their color or station in life :-) I agree 100% You may have your SOBs, but I have non, lol. They don’t represent me either.

  28. 28 Tina May 15th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Hello my people,

    Thank you for the opportunity to address you again. I am happy to share with you more public secret about the poor Gilgel Gibe.

    “The people who depend directly on the Omo’s precious water would have appreciated having the dam’s sweeping effects on their lives properly analyzed before the bulldozers rolled out. International Rivers’ studies show that only a tiny proportion of the people have been consulted or effectively informed of the changes the dam will bring, in contravention of guarantees in the Ethiopian Constitution.” (LA TIMES, MAY 14 2009)

    Here is the inconvenient truth that some say are “luxury preconditions”. Here is what Lori Pottinger of the Africa program at International Rivers said about the project’s wrong start: “Such outcomes should have been predicted in project analysis, but Ethiopia started building the dam before undertaking a thorough environmental impact assessment. When it finally produced such a report, the project was already two years into construction and the study, again according to the independent African Resources Working Group, was “fundamentally flawed.” Ethiopian government officials told the BBC that proper environmental studies were simply “luxurious preconditions.”

    The poorly planned dam will dismantle the people of Mursi, Bodi, Kara and other cultures. Big dam is not the solution to their problems.

    Most importantly, and I agree with this conclusion: “The African Development Bank should closely investigate Gibe III and measure it against the bank’s environmental and social standards. Rather than support such destructive projects, it should help Ethiopia drought-proof its energy sector, diversify its energy mix, tap its abundant renewable energy resources and get serious about climate-change adaptation plans for its river peoples. That is what the United States government should be supporting at the bank this week, not the Gibe III dam.”

  29. 29 ayele aberra May 16th, 2009 at 3:40 am

    dear damn dam;

    may be it easier to get excellent electricity while getting your back end kicked than build your own.

    Leaders are there to lead and when the true leaders have a vision of goodness they will do it anyway they can. Take a stand either you live by the laws of the country or you don’t. This government is trying to create a peacefull growth of a country with so many nationalities. Democracy is not even working in countries with one language, culture and history.

    Come home and help your country develop. If you are living in the west no mater if you are a college person or not you still have a lot to contribute. Let’s not be all politicians. There will be allways who would say I could have done it better. It is west of time. Democracy is not what feeds the people it is peace. And trying to achive Democracy in africa is a fight of no end. Give this well organized government a chance. Hate won’t get us no where and have no place. It is not where you put your foundation of nation building.

    lighten up bro

  30. 30 Dallas May 16th, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Ethiopia needs these Dams for irrigation and power generation, hence for the development of the country. Some journalists are feeding negative ideas to those of us who are easily convinced. Every foreigner tries to be an expert when it comes to Africa. Please let us not listen to these foreign journalists and throw negative attitude toward each other.

    May god bless Ethiopia!

  31. 31 Tazabi May 16th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    What does the government sponsored report say? I know the critics say it is severely flawed. But I would like to read it for myself. Can someone please point me to the report?

    Thank you.

  32. 32 Monica May 17th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    It seems to me that both sides have a common ground. You all agree that Ethiopia, if it used it’s natural resources properly and treated it’s own citizens with respect and dignity, can transform from being poster-child of starvation into a bread basket for Africa. But clearly we are not there yet. But the discussion on this important issue should not degenerate into personal attacks. This must be a new culture for Ethiopians because when I was growing up, if my parents heard me call another person a “wacko”, they would pretty much cut my tongue out. I oppose this project not because I don’t want Ethiopia to develop, or not because I hate the govt, or not because I support Ginbot 7, I simply don’t like the project because it will create more environmental and social problems than bring solutions.

    Please let us love and respect each other.


  33. 33 aba macha aba biya May 17th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I do not see any reason why Ethiopians abroad, in diaspora, support a government they clearly regard as undemocratic when it engaged with some activities that are determental to the interest of the minority. This double standard way of finding solution to the Ethiopian problem is what divide all of ethiopians. The EPRDF is on critical juncture at moment and will not hesitate to use every opportunities to divert the attention of the world and divide Ethiopians abroad and inside ethiopia with such type of project. taking in to account the current govt’s practice of human right and the level of corruption I would be reluctant to believe any sort of proposal it might come with. Please let us bring true development of the country through direct consultation with the people at the grass root level. Economic social and ecological impact of the project were not clearly addressed. this is clear from the under dealing and the non-existence of a study.

  34. 34 Dallas May 18th, 2009 at 4:39 am

    If the government of Ethiopia says that it has done the environmental study on this project before the construction of Gilgel Gibe III Dam begun, I believe the government’s statement is true and I support its effort on this project as well as other project that are being developed. I advice those Ethiopians who have hatred to the government to stop hate mongering and support the government. Hate does not get anyone anywhere.

    Adane, you sound like an intelligent man and I support your argument. However, I would not dream to support the so-called “Ginbot 7′ groups.

  35. 35 nebiyat May 27th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I understand the situation well, all things are clear. Especially, as a history student i can answer:- who are behaind it? why thise kind enemity actions going on? One important thing i want to advise Ethiopian goverment go a head

  36. 36 Beza May 31st, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I don know why the media gives emphasis for searching mistakes of developing countries like Ethiopia. We can not have gibe 3.

  37. 37 Martha Jun 5th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Debate and discussion are the building blocks of any good public policy. It’s good to see those dams are being built in Ethiopia, however the country must find the money on its own. Don’t look west or East. Just look inside. Ethiopia’s domestic ambitions are not and cannot be other people’s problem.

    Why should Ethiopia’s dam crisis be America’s or China’s emergency? Axum and Laibela were not built on foreign money. Think about it. Stop crying and start swinging.

    Thank you.

  38. 38 Samuel Jun 8th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    It is clear that when any project is implemented there may be negative effect. Ofcourse, when Gibe III is constructed there may be negative effect on environment and society to very limitted degree when compared to 75 million people of Ethiopia who are in dark and poverty.This project must be supported by any body who has positive attitude to human kind, becouse this is a matter of supporting this poor people one step to some what ‘better’ life!
    Every body knows that to what degree the westerns pollute our common world,but no body critisized them.On opposite side they are hyperactive when Africa tries to solve 0.000000000000000001 percent of its priblem becouse they have a dream to ….AFRICA AGAIN!!!

  39. 39 Barnabas Jun 11th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    It is clear who is behind this minor dilemma, believe or not Gilgel Gibe will be seen constructed in short run. Who judged to live Ethiopians under absolute darkness and poverity!!!!!!!!!!!!! But we Ethiopians must keep hand in hand. This project has nothing to do politics. Don’t give ear to the BBc and other media!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. 40 Admex Jun 17th, 2009 at 2:15 am

    I have read right questions raised by right persons but addressed to wrong persons, (persons who are neither given the chance nor have capabilities to give right answers on the issues). I am so sorry, all of us are making just futile effort in this regrd!!!!!

  41. 41 gebtes Oct 13th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Madam Tina, leave the Ethiopian matter to the concerned Ethiopians. Your question is not compelling at all to me. It certainly lacks vital infor mation as to what ethiopians can do when they are compelled to. There were such kinds of events around the world, like china ,turky and many others but nobody was able to stop them. As they have started it they finished it to help thier people but for those who cried evrywere to stop the project, poor people, I am sorry for them. So, its time for you to learn, don’t be like them. As far as Ethiopians are concerned, let every body understand and come to know that this is their chance to run up to the tope of the hill of prosperity, developemnt and self sufficient life style.


  42. 42 Belay Z Nov 26th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Every time there is a light showing at the end of the tunnel, here we go again the West against the poor nation of Africa ( Ethiopia ) these issue is about your country, and the young generation of Ethiopians future…so called the Environmentalists multi mill dollar business funded by the Egyptian Gvt. and the/west/ wants you to stay in the dark, hunger, war…

    Read this article…
    The Aswan High Dam, Egypt: Displaced some 90,000 people and flooded great archaeological sites (Debod Temple, Temple of Dendur etc.), produces 2100 MW of power on a good day and regulates irrigation down stream. Now compare that with Gilgel Gibe III, a power plant that will produce 1870 MW of power and which will displace 6,750 people. A simple arithmetic shows that Gilgel Gibe III has 12 times less impact! But dear reader when was the last time you heard Egyptians being chastised for their desperate effort to manage the Nile river as they wish so as to stay a viable nation state?

  43. 43 Girum Jan 15th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    To begin with, any critical review of such major project is essential. Environmental and social concerns should be bought up, this way we may not repeat the wrongs done before. However, those environmental side effects discussed here by Lori Pottinger are reasonable sacrifices compared to the long term environmental, economic and social benifites of this project. Today almost all Ethiopians burn those already scarce trees for firewood, and women spend lots of time to collect firewood or grinding cereals etc.. Electrical light may enabel children do their homework after sunset, and in the long run entire communities will have access to mass media, telecommunication facilities or the internet. Right now Ethiopia has NO alternativ to facilitating of hydro-elektric projects. To suggest that those who live there would prefer to remain as mere attraction for tourists is deeply cynical.

  44. 44 Yohannis Jan 16th, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Now, thanks a lot for revolting my picture of Africa/ Ethiopia and the Africans/ Ethiopians.
    Some of them still seem to be a very hostile, narrowminded and fascistoidical racist. But that’s a part of the history of this country for some thousand years now. Maybe they’re going to chop off the heads of “foreigners” again … of course after they left there money in the country. How much of the BIP of Ethiopia is made with money from outside?
    Do they now where the word “habesha” derives from?

    What is the point in making the same mistakes as the other parts of the world did already. To proof that we can do it as well … making the same mistakes?
    There are many less costly and more effective alternatives to hydropower and alternatives that can be easily “transported” in every part of this wonderful cpuntry without that much effort.
    do we know where most of the money to finance zthis project comes from … it is not the ETHIOPIANS who run this project, without zthe help from outside nothing would go in this impoverished country, cause there wouldn’t have been any! road built up to now. Are you aware of that fact. It is just a fact. Or can you tell me who brought the weehl when to this country. Folks, learn your own history and learn that most of the money invested in this country comes from outside and that mostly a third of it goes to Switzerland or to other places where those who are already rich put there money for the time when they are not in government anymore. Learn the historical facts, stop your hilarious racial remarks – in Europe you would go to prison for some of them – proof what you claim and avoid the mistakes others did before.

    Sounds easy? No, it’s the opposite;-) racism and false accusations are much easier to make and much easier to accept … than learning out of the mistakes pothers already made … look forward for the future;-)

  45. 45 T.T Jan 16th, 2010 at 7:52 am

    HI I would be very much pleased to say that those Ethiopians living abroad has to do some thing than talking and relating every thing with politics. iam sure those who are opposing the project are may be Egyptians who are always looking Ethiopia begging bread. but this is over and you Egyptians to look another alternative because Ethiopia is in a position to reserve its water resource. we don’t care for the selfish western journalists who want to be a criticizers on African development and her leader. you Ethiopians be wise to distinguish politics from national interest.

    its time for the renaissance of Ethiopia and let us transform our country.


  46. 46 Teddy Odindo Feb 17th, 2010 at 3:32 am

    The view that disputes and even aggression can erupt over access to environmental resources now appears commonplace, wars have been fought over access to terrestrial and water resources. Indeed, the relationship between environmental resources and the eruption of national and international conflicts has been recognized for decades. Many developing countries in Africa are weighed down by disputes emanating from industrial pollution, natural resource degradation, and unplanned developmental activities. Water pollution for instance, is a good example of an international environmental problem that has caused disputes in many parts of the world. River Basins and Lake Basins are of great importance, and often these resources are shared by two or more countries and the problems of water quality and quantity can generate international conflicts.

    Not only freshwater, but also the oceans, the atmosphere and the environment in general know no boundaries. Any significant impact on the environment can produce effects outside national boundaries, as evidenced by the number of countries affected as a consequence of the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming.

    The Gilgel Gibe III dam has the potential to generate transboundary environmental effects; including threat to biodiversity, water availability and landscape, also including effects on the cultural heritage or socio- economic impacts i.e. downstream fishing communities and those living around Lake Turkana. It was thus important to identify such activities and subject them to environmental impact assessment in order to promote sustainable management of shared resources.

  47. 47 David Apr 4th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    i think this is a great work by ET ppl, i guess we all Ethiopian need to support this project and fight back this western ass holes.

  48. 48 Ramy May 20th, 2010 at 3:14 am

    (Ethiopians) are the ones that will steal the Egyption char of the Nile water and not even put it in good use this will not make any significant improvement in an African developed full of AIDS country like Ethiopia in my point of view you better build a more agricultural advanced economy than the industrial more expensive one

  49. 49 Dabala Bulcha Jun 8th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    In the dark side of ’21st century Democracy in Ethiopia’, there is no realization of access to true information and fair public participation(right to be consulted) concerning the upcoming global discussion on ‘Environment’. Prior consultation of the people is mandatory input in planning and planting of the Gilgel gibe project as provided in some international legal instrument on environmental protection. No voice heard, no choice made by the people who are the victim of the project……..
    We are remained to appraise the visually colorful democracy……I don’t support such project to the detriment of the indigenous people, flora and fauna of the vicinity…….

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