July 1, 2006

Nile River dam being built by Chinese for producing electricity

Construction began in 2006 on a 9 km wide earthen/rock dam at the Fourth Cataract on the Nile River. A lake 160 km long will be created. The dam will be 67 meters high [approx. 210 feet] and cost about 1200 million EURs, or 1.5 billion dollars. With 10 hydro generators, the available electricity in Sudan will nearly double. Flooding begins in August 2008, and will take about two years to fill. Irrigation for farms will be available downstream. River navigation will be improved.

The Beja connection is that plans exist to build a 1,000 km long transmission line across the Red Sea Hills to improve electrical service in Port Sudan.

A noteable side effect of the construction is the displacement of about 50,000 people, many who work on date and vegetable farms, and who are of the same tribal ethnicity. New land being offered doesn't have the rich soil the date palms like, short term assistance programmes the government wants to give appear inadequate to fully reestablish the farmers, and local towns that purchase the dates and vegetables will be flooded.

The new lake will flood hundreds of archeological sites. Efforts have been ongoing for years, but resources are inadequate to rescue many artifacts, or remove and rebuild the many historic buildings and pyramids.

China has an interest in many countries in Africa, with a view of developing friendly relations in order to secure resources for her own economic well-being.