Ethiopians in UK mark 3rd GERD Anniversary

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Addis Ababa, 14 April 2014 (WIC) - Members of the Ethiopian Diaspora residing in the UK marked the third anniversary of the launch of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), pledging to mobilize more resources to see through the mega project that would feed energy to one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Ethiopians from all walks of life have bought bonds worth billions of birr keeping the momentum of the construction of the dam, which eventually would generate 6,000MW of electricity paving the way for Ethiopia to be the power hub of Africa.
It has now been three years since the cornerstone was laid by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who at that juncture said the cornerstone “is a historic laurel wreath to reclaim our former grace”. The construction of the dam with a reservoir volume of 74 billion cubic metres is now 33% complete and will be the largest dam in Africa.
Addressing the event, Berhanu Kebede, Ambassador of Ethiopia to the UK, underlined that GERD is one of several mega projects designed to speed up the rate of economic growth and development in the national drive to make poverty history.
The Ethiopian Diaspora have raised $435 million and the contribution of the populous has covered 26 per cent of the expenditure for this mega project, that lent a massive boost to the national pride and confidence, the culture of saving and technological transfer.
Ethiopia, the ambassador said, has never had any intentions other than promoting equitable utilization of the waters of the River Nile for the benefit of the peoples of both the upper and lower riparian countries, in accordance to its foreign policy which gives precedence to mutual and collective gains.
Ethiopians, as owners of this huge undertaking, are actively involved in the construction of the dam knowing well that it was carefully designed to avoid damage to lower riparian countries and assuage siltation and evaporation, he said.
Taking its own initiative Ethiopia helped set up an International Panel of experts (IPoE), engaging Sudan and Egypt, and has consistently implemented its recommendations for the benefit of all as part of the win-win solution it stands for.
Ambassador Berhanu called on all Ethiopians to reiterate their firm stand to carry on with the construction of GERD, further intensifying their engagement in resource mobilization and bond sales to see the Ethiopian Renaissance come true. He also urged compatriots in the UK to start organizing their actions for the biggest bond sale event, which will be held in June.
In remarks he made at the event, Secretary of the GERD Council and Chairman of the Ethiopian Consensus Forum, Mulat Tadesse, noted the significant contribution of community members in the national development drive and urged every one of them to support the nation-building endeavour including the highly coveted GERD project which is at the heart of the Growth and Transformation Plan. He said the launching of the GERD has given the Diaspora the opportunity to stand united in supporting development efforts at home while further fostering tolerance and understanding for the realization of the national interest.
More commitment and dedication, he said, will bring us closer to our major objective of defeating poverty and ushering in better living standard and prosperity for our people.
Ethiopians in the UK have previously bought bonds worth £702,900 and on the occasion of the third anniversary of GERD today, they bought bonds amounting to the tune of about £20,000, out of which over £10,000 was raised by members of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
A cake was cut, refreshments were served and an Ethiopian traditional and cultural show staged, reflecting the true colour of Ethiopia, the mosaic of nations and nationalities. Poems celebrating GERD and Ethiopian Renaissance were also recited.
A documentary video was also screened depicting the various stages and activities undertaken to implement the GERD with heightened engagement and sense of public ownership. (Ethiopian Embassy in UK)

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