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Ethiopia's New Dam Tilts the Balance of Power / Ann Neumann


The issue with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is that Ethiopia has desperately needed this dam. Ethiopia would like to lift its people out of poverty. It would like to bring electricity to Ethiopians in the rural areas as well as the cities...And indeed, the Nile begins in Ethiopia. There's no reason why they country shouldn't be able to utilize this natural resource of their own. And yet, the country hasn't had the ability to bring together the resources to complete this dam until now. And the political challenges, the recalcitrance of the Egyptians and the Sudanese to even work on negotiations about the water. Egypt just shut down this conversation again and again and again. And so, even when Egypt says "Okay, Let's talk about this, let's make these negotiations happen," it's just long in coming, far too slow, and Ethiopia single-mindedly, unilaterally, has, under Abiy's direction, pushed ahead: said "Okay, we're doing this on our own, no one has the right to tell us what we can and can't do for our people. And Egypt and Sudan just have to accept that we're going to provide for our own."

We have on Ann Neumann to discuss her new Baffler article: "Hydropower: A dam on the Nile roils democratic relations in the Horn of Africa"

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Ann Neumann

Ann Neumann is the author of The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. Her work has appeared at Harper's magazine, The Baffler, The Guardian and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and, most recently on issues in Ethiopia, The Pulitzer Center. She’s at @otherspoon.


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