Ethiopia has launched a fundraising campaign to complete its Nahda Dam project along the Nile, whose construction has caused regional tension.
The Ethiopian authorities have appealed to citizens to transfer money via their mobile phones to complete the $ 5 billion project.
The Ethiopian government recently refused to sign an agreement on the dam with Egypt and Sudan, mediated by the United States.
It appears that the Ethiopian authorities are trying to exploit popular anger over what is seen as American pressure on Addis Ababa to sign an agreement that Ethiopia does not favor.
The Ethiopian side described the American position on the Renaissance Dam project as “totally unacceptable.”
Addis Ababa accused Washington of neglecting its role as a neutral observer after the United States said the dam should not be completed without an agreement. But the Ethiopian foreign minister said his country would continue to attend the talks.
Egypt and Sudan fear that the dam will deprive them of water. Some fear a war over this dam.
Once completed, the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be the largest hydropower project in Africa.
Ethiopia started construction in 2011 on the Blue Nile in the northern highlands of Ethiopia, from where an estimated 85 percent of the Nile’s water flows.
Ethiopia plans to start filling the dam in June. Egypt fears that this project would represent an “existential threat” to it.
Egypt relies on the Nile for about 90 percent of its water needs.
There are fears that the construction of the dam will lead to Ethiopian control of the longest river in Africa, while Egypt wants to fill the dam over a longer period so that the river level does not drop suddenly.
The two countries pledged, earlier, to make every effort to protect their interests.
The United States intervened to assist in the negotiations in 2019, and recently issued a statement indicating that an agreement had been reached, and urged Ethiopia to formally abide by it.
The State Department said in a statement: “We must not start filling the dam” without all parties signing the agreement.
The Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Guido Andragashiu, described the US statement as “non-diplomatic.”
He added: “We want the Americans to play a constructive role, and any other role is unacceptable.”
The Egyptian presidency said that US President Donald Trump told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a telephone call that Washington would continue its “persistent efforts” to reach an agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the Renaissance Dam.