Roundup: Ethiopia inaugurates Chinese-funded 1870MW hydropower project

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Ethiopia on Saturday inaugurated a hydroelectric power plant, dubbed Gibe III Hydropower Project, with a generating capacity of 1870 MW and a total investment of 1.58 billion U.S dollars.

Located between Wolaita and Dawero zones of Southern Regional State of Ethiopia, about 450 km south-west of the capital Addis Ababa, Gibe III Hydropower project has been contracted by two international companies namely, Salini Impregilo of Italy for the civil works, and Dong Fang Electric Corp. of China for the electromechanical works.

The project, which raises Ethiopia's power generation capacity to more than 4260 MW, has been carried out with the participation of 7,000 Ethiopian workers and 700 foreigners.

A loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has financed 60 percent of the cost, while the balance has been covered by the government of Ethiopia.

Officially inaugurating the project, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hailed the project's contribution to foreign currency earnings, social and environmental development as well as to cooperation among neighboring countries.

In addition to power generation, Hailemariam highlighted the project's contribution also to economical and social benefits for the local people.

The prime minister said the project would have significant contribution to ongoing industrialization and other development activities being carried out in the East African country.

In his remarks made at the inaugural ceremony, La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, hailed the committed leadership of the Ethiopian government to development projects, which has enabled such landmark achievement.

Reiterating that the project is the result of hard work of Ethiopians and also fruitful cooperation among the different stakeholders, the ambassador said it would significantly contribute to Ethiopia's industrialization and attracting more foreign investments, thereby creating more jobs.

He said that China would continue its cooperation with Ethiopia in different areas.

Azeb Asnake, CEO of the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), noted that Gibe III Hydropower Project is a milestone in the power sector as it almost doubles the country's electric power generation.

Azeb Asnake, who is also Manager of the Gibe III Hydropower Project, reiterated the role it has played in technology transfer, thereby building local capacity in the sector.

The successful completion of Gibe III Hydropower project has made and continues to make positive and considerable contribution to the energy sector and to the country at large, according to the CEO.

With different sources, Ethiopia has targeted to boost up its electric power generation to 17,000 MW by the end of the country's second five-year growth and transformation plan (GTP II-2015/16-2019/20). Endit

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