New round of talks on Nile dam to begin in Sudan

By ShanghaiDaily

KHARTOUM, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- A new round of talks regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia is to begin in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Sunday.

The meetings are expected to result in signing contracts with two French companies for studies on GERD's probable impact on the downstream countries, Sudan and Egypt.

The French BRL company is to carry out 70 percent of the studies, while the French Artelia company is for the rest 30 percent, according to Saif-Eddin Hamad, head of the Sudanese side to the meetings of experts.

In September 2014, local expert committees from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia recommended conducting two more studies on GERD.

The first proposed test was on the dam's impact on Egypt and Sudan's water shares, and the second on the anticipated environmental, economic and social impact on the two countries.

GERD unsettles Egypt as it fears the dam could impact its share in the Nile River which amounts to 55.5 billion cubic meters. Equally, Ethiopia said the dam will most likely affect its resources, namely in the electricity sector.

GERD extends over an area of 1,800 square km, and is expected to be finalized in three years at a cost of 4.7 billion U.S. dollars.