At least half a million people on Sunday took part in street races in 35 towns across Ethiopia as part of fundraising events to bankroll the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam over the River Nile.Over 90,000 residents of Addis Ababa took part in a 6km run organized in connection with the sixth anniversary of the controversial dam project and International Women’s Day.
However, organizers claimed the number of people in Addis Ababa who participated in the race could be much higher.
Ethiopia has already launched what it calls a ‘bond week’ campaign to raise as much money as possible to finance the over 6000 Mega Watt hydro power dam project which is being funded by government bonds
and private donations and it is billed to be completed by July 2017.
In a bid to raise funds all the banks across the country sold bonds during last week.
It’s construction cost is being estimated at $6.4 billion.
Meanwhile, following the upgrading of generators, the installed hydro-power generation capacity of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been increased to 6,450MW.
The sixth anniversary of the commencement of the construction of the dam will be celebrated in mid-March.
The GERD has been rocked by controversy following opposition by downstream countries especially Egypt to the construction of the dam, voicing fears that it would heavily compromise their share of water from the River Nile.
Ethiopia had repeatedly dismissed such fears as unfounded saying it had commissioned a geological study before the dam which claimed the flow of water from the river to downstream countries will not be adversely affected.