The speech made by the late PM Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia at the official commencement, groundbreaking ceremony of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.

Guba, Benishangul Gumuz

Honorable peoples of Ethiopia

First and foremost, on behalf of the Ethiopian government and of myself, I must express my heartfelt pleasure for the opportunity to attend this occasion, marking the official commencement of the construction of the Millennium Hydro-electric Nile Dam. I must congratulate all those who have worked so tirelessly to make this defining moment possible.

Honorable peoples of Ethiopia

Ladies and Gentlemen

We have gathered here today at the largest of our rivers to witness the launch of this great project. It is rightly called the Millennium Dam. It is the largest dam we could build at any point along the Nile, or indeed any other river. More importantly the project takes the pride of place, representing an incomparable addition to our national plan for expanding power production. It will not only raise our own power-generating capacity and meet our domestic needs. It will also allow us to export to neighboring countries and mobilize the resources so necessary for the realization of objectives for our rapid development endeavors, efforts which are already yielding promising results.

The plan allows for the generation of six to eight thousand MW in the coming five-years. Of this total, the Millennium Dam alone will have the capacity to produce 5,250 MW to assist in meeting our aims. After completion, the Dam is expected to hold 67 billion cubic meters of water. This will provide a reservoir almost twice the size as Lake Tana, a natural lake which only reaches 32 billion cubic meters at its peak. The Millennium Dam will be the largest man-made lake in Ethiopia, and it will also, of course, provide for extensive opportunities for fisheries and cultivation which were previously non-existent.

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