China’s SINOHydro, CGCC & TPLF’s Sur awarded contract to build Ethiopia’s hydro dam on Geba River

9 Sep

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

News from Addis Abeba is that the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), the state arm responsible for investment, expansion and operations of generation as well as transmission of electric power in Ethiopia, has awarded dam construction contract on Geba River to two Chinese owned companies – SINOHydro and CGCC – and also the ruling party TPLF-owned Sur Construction, according to Fana, the news agency owned by the ruling party.

The Geba Dam, which would generaete 391MW is the most expensive ever, according to Addis Fortune, costing per megawat twice that of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The construction work would cost Ethiopia $583 million (ETB 11.5 bil), 80 percent coming as loan from China’s EximBank. The dam would also be used to irrigate 480,000 hectares of land, according to ENA.

So far, there is no news report to whom farmlands in those irrigated lands have already been allotted. Nor has any story leaked out yet whether those residents of the land that have been pushed off have been appropriately compensated.

Early on it was reported that $100 million financing for Geba Dam would come from the African Development Bank (AfDB), while other sources tapped included the World Bank to no avail, it seems. Ethiopia began looking for loan for the Geba dam in 2008, after EEPCO expressed interest in international financing, among others, on To the best of my information, it has hardly received positive response and that is the reason why China has now taken the whole thing.

Engineer Azeb (Credit: Reporter)

EEP’s Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Azeb Asnake signed the contract Monday at the Sheraton.

Her last work experience included heading the construction work on the 187MW Gibe III dam, which is still under construction over a year from finish time and over-budget. She assumed her current post in December 2013.

The Geba Dam has already won notoriety, for some, for being the most expensive ever as well as the 12th dam in the country. Its record would also include its contract being signed by Ethiopia’s first woman executive, 10 months after she assumed her responsibility.

Yet another marker for it is also the fact that the three-party contract is shared by the TPLF, Ethiopia’s ruling party, through its Sur Construction – certainly without any competitive bidding and in keeping with its tradition in all matters financial and politics.

River Geba is located in Oromia Regional State, between Illubabor and Jimma Zones, at a distance of 540km from Addis Abeba.

One Response to “China’s SINOHydro, CGCC & TPLF’s Sur awarded contract to build Ethiopia’s hydro dam on Geba River”

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