Ethiopia: Scaled-Up GERD Promotion Key to Enhance Diaspora Contribution

Addis Ababa — Promotion of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) should be further scaled up to enhance the contribution of the Ethiopian Diaspora.

In a consultative forum on the contribution of Diaspora to GERD and its current status which was held today, Diaspora representatives stressed that the contribution of the Ethiopians in the Diaspora is not up to expectations.

Lack of mechanisms in accessing timely information to those Ethiopians residing abroad is a major impediment that negatively impacts the bestowal of the Diaspora, they insisted.

They added that coordinated and organized system should be in place to tap the diverse potential of Diaspora both financial and rich expertise.

Mobilizing Diasporas contribution for GERD was left only to few government affiliated individuals, the participants said, and urged the Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation to work with respective Diaspora communities.

Office Deputy Director-General, Fikirte Tamir, admitted the impediments and pointed out that their multifaceted potential is of greater importance not only for the construction of GERD but also for every aspect of the country’s development programs.

According to her, the public has contributed 12.3 billion birr and of which the Ethiopian Diaspora has contributed 46 million USD until 2010 Ethiopian fiscal year.

Contribution seemed to falter due to the recent incidents of mismanagement of the GERD, she said, and noted “but it is quite surprising that we managed to collect 484 million birr over the last six months though it is far below the target.”

GERD Deputy Project Manager, Engineer Ephrem Gebrekidan, said the dam’s civil construction and hydraulic steel structure have reached 80 and 13 percent respectively.

He also pointed out that the entire project progress is at 65 percent and is expected to be completed after four years.

Speaking of the projects mismanagement, Ephrem noted “70 percent of mega projects at global level face cost and project overrun and we should look for ways of minimizing expenses.”

Three contractual agreements for the hydraulic steel structure, and two electromechanical turbines is concluded while four projects are underway to rectify performance errors that were committed by former Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), he elaborated.

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