Time the Region Called Egypt’s Bluff and Build Dams to Lower Energy Cost
By KARIUKI MUIRI, Karatina
June 10 2013
Ethiopia has dared Egypt to war if the Arab nation attempts to carry out hostile activities to prevent the Blue Nile hydro-power project from being concluded.
The 6,000MW Grand Renaissance Dam was conceived by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died last August, to make Ethiopia a functional industrial country.
Power costs in Ethiopia are poised for the basement once two dams are completed of which the second will affect our Lake Turkana adversely. Kenya, unlike Egypt, has chosen to ignore this matter, forging closer ties instead.
Ethiopia appears to have realised that it could well be a top athletic nation but, like Kenya, no investor would set up a major manufacturing plant with the kind of power costs prevailing at the moment.
And those who dare can only enter an understanding with a monopolistic league such as the seven or so cement and steel manufacturers in Kenya.
The cartel actually pays very high power costs, but the same is passed on to the person putting up a building. And on top of that, the family connected businesses actually meet twice or thrice a year to fix premium prices.
Ethiopia has the largest army in Africa. Although Kenya and Egypt have higher budgets for their armed forces, I do not see how Egypt has bothered to threaten on the Sh350 billion dam when they would have to fly over the Sudan to fight Ethiopia in a first ever water war.
Secondly, Israel would only be too willing to destabilise the Arab state by arming Ethiopia given the two countries have some common ancestry through the Falasha Jews.
Thirdly, Kenya is currently about to start building power pylons to import power from Ethiopia to satisfy runaway demand at home. This country would back Ethiopia in the event of war, as would belligerent Rwanda (source of the White Nile) and our neighbour Uganda.
That Congo is building the largest dam on the planet tells you that at a certain time in the future, Africa shall become the world’s manufacturing yard because most countries will share the cheap power so as to attract foreign direct investments.
I do not know when these things I write about will happen but I think counties need to start building two or so hydro-dams to attract manufacturers, because then the power costs would be less than half of those cannibalistic Kenya Power is charging. This is the way to go for any governor intent on quality job creation. For why govern?
If power costs in Kenya continue to sky-rocket, creating quality jobs will remain a mirage. Nobody has a monopoly of ideas about job creation, but one thing is for sure: energy costs will have to come down.