Ethiopia: Challenging the Gibe Dam is anti-development in Africa

Gibe III Dam Site in Ethiopia
The Gilgel Gibe III dam will hold back 14.7 million cubic metres of water. Its 1,870 MW generating capacity will be a significant boost for the Ethiopian Electric Power Company (EEPCO) which has plans to extend electricity supply within the country and export power to other countries in East Africa.

Ethiopian News | Salini Costruttori: Those Challenging the Gibe Project do not want development in Africa

“The campaign against the construction of the Gibe plant in Ethiopia is merely another initiative without a technical and scientific basis”, states a note published by Salini Costruttori SpA.

“We are dealing with an irresponsible campaign, based on critical statements founded on blatant factual errors and mainly due to elementary arithmetic and technical mistakes. These statements have already been assessed and denied by authoritative international organizations, such as EIB and the African Development Bank (ADB).”

One case is that of the change in water level in Lake Turkana caused by the project, which the critical organizations are claiming has fallen by 12 metres, with disastrous effects. In truth, the claimed fall in water level is non-existent and is based on a blatant overestimate (15 times!) in the calculation of the volume taken over by the dam.

Salini Costruttori has stated its full willingness to discuss the matter in meetings, as long as they are based on accurate and scientifically provable elements and not merely on sterile ideological prejudice, but also believes that the following should be pointed out:

  • the work on the Gibe system in terms of effects on the local people, the use of the soil for producing plants and food and on biodiversity has been subjected to impartial and accurate evaluations which have not identified any negative impacts, highlighting the positive effects on the people and the area, especially from a health perspective;
  • fishing, which is the main activity in the region, will also benefit from the project and the creation of an environment compatible with the continuing development of the fishing industry;
  • the water supply in Lake Turkana will not be decreased, but may even increase due to less water evaporation, which is now considerable due to the large wetlands periodically inundated by the floods along the Omo river, that are now uncontrolled, dangerous and destructive.

Salini Costruttori has also stated that the Gibe project is fruit of the work of hundreds of engineers of worldwide renown in the sector and that thousands of technicians and workers of different nationalities are involved in the project, which has been submitted for approval by authoritative Ethiopian and international organizations.

Those who are opposing the Gibe project in various ways and under various guises are merely fuelling a needless and damaging campaign, based on ideological prejudice – in the hope of gaining fame and notoriety – while nullifying the appreciation of the work expressed in international circles.

Salini has reiterated its policy of full disclosure to the public of all information on its work, and the use on its own blog and website of open areas for discussion and criticism, also announcing that it will continue to defend its image from further unmotivated and defamatory attacks, which are causing serious damage not only to the Company and the dignity of its technicians and workers, but also, especially, to the development of the Horn of Africa.

The Gibe projects will guarantee the production of the same amount of renewable and clean energy as that of two average size nuclear plants, and this will enable the sustainable development of one of the most depressed areas in the world.