Stepping Up: Ethiopian Diaspora Raises Millions for Construction Back Home
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, otherwise known as GERD and sometimes referred to as the Hedase Dam, is currently under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. Estimated to generate 6,000 MW of electricity, the dam, when it’s completed, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa as well as the 11th largest in the world. Certainly no small feat.
The electricity generated will not only help power Ethiopia but could help power neighbouring countries such as Sudan and possibly Egypt, as there are plans to sell some of the electricity to these countries to enable them power their own economies.
Five years since its inception, the dam is still under construction but with an estimated cost of 3.3 Billion Euros, you can probably understand why. The expense of such a project has been such a heavy burden for the Ethiopian government that it considered abandoning the project to be a viable solution – that was until help came from abroad; abroad in this story being Ethiopians in diaspora. Citizens of the country who left home for work and play but keep the nation’s affairs close to heart.
Hearing about Ethiopia’s struggle to build its dam, the Ethiopian Diaspora Community raised $2 Million, $2,101,000 to be exact, to support the construction of the Dam and the contributions were made in the form of bond purchases, donations and other funding means. Through various forums, the Ethiopian ministry overseeing the project met about 200 times over a 6 month period with the diaspora community, all of which, I’m certain, imbued the community with the confidence and enthusiasm needed to raise the funds. Reports indicate that Ethiopia has over three million folks in diaspora.
The future of Africans in the diaspora is tied to Africa’s future. So we each have a stake in the development and transformation of the continent as we play our role as investors, agents of knowledge, instruments of technology transfer and more.
Ethiopia is stepping up.
Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia, Senegal, Morocco, Mauritius, Madagascar…the rest of Africa, please where are you?