Acting Chief Engineer Picked for Ethiopian Dam

Semegnew Bekele, project manager of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, stands in front of the construction project in Guba in the North West of Ethiopia, 24 November 2017. The dam is currently being built on the Blue Nile and is going to be the biggest dam in Africa. However, the construction leads to tensions, especially with Egypt that worries about its share in Nile water. Photo by: Gioia Forster/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Simegnew Bekele, project manager and chief engineer on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project, was found murdered. 
Photo: Gioia Forster/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Ethiopia’s electric power company picked Ephrem Woldekidan as acting chief engineer for the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project. He replaces Simegnew Bekele, 57, who held the role since 2011 and was found murdered in Addis Ababa on July 26. The murder raised questions about whether it was connected to the power project, owned by the state power utility. Woldekidan was deputy chief engineer on the $4-billion project, working with prime contractor Salini Impregilo SpA. Reports indicated that before his death, Bekele was set to brief  the press on the project’s progress. Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, had indicated the project could be delayed further without elaborating. Ahmed had been trying to mend fences with neighboring countries including Egypt, which depends heavily on Nile water and opposes the project.



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