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 Sources say five more turbines are expected to come online at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the coming months, adding a huge amount of capacity to the grid, even as questions remain over the megaproject’s economic impact and whether the infrastructure exists to increase exports. Meanwhile, Ethiopia faces the prospect of renewed conflict as tensions ratchet up with neighbouring Eritrea, writes Our Ethiopia Correspondent.

Sudan | Ethiopia | Eritrea
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In another move to increase its woefully low level of electricity supply – and with it Eritrea’s attempted re-emergence from international isolation – the Ministry of Energy and Mines has requested bids for the design, supply and installation of a 30MW solar PV plant along with an associated storage facility of unspecified capacity.

Eritrea
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Eritrea is seeking to improve strained relations with its East African neighbours while also deepening ties with key allies China and Russia. Some multilateral institutions including the African Development Bank are also offering new support, but Asmara remains isolated from western financing and is likely to remain so for as long as President Isaias Afwerki’s capricious and repressive regime remains in place, write Tonderayi Mukeredzi and Jon Marks in an African Energy special report.

Eritrea
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The African Development Bank (AfDB)’s $50m package to develop the Dekemhare 30MWp solar PV and 15MW/30MWh battery storage plant, approved in April, was a notable exception to the position of most multilateral and bilateral financiers, who prefer to avoid Eritrean projects.

Eritrea
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Australia’s Danakali was, until recently, developing the Colluli potash project in the Danakil Depression region, 230km from Eritrea’s main port of Massawa. But chairman Seamus Cornelius told African Energy international sanctions had made it “incredibly difficult” to raise funds and develop the project.

Eritrea
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Project bulletin

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $50m grant for Eritrea's Dekemhare 30MWp solar PV and 15MW/30MWh battery storage plant.

Eritrea
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) is supporting a rare international project in Eritrea, with a call for expressions of interest (EoI) for a consultant to work on a product to develop a 30MWp solar PV plant with battery energy storage system (Bess) near Dekemhare, in the Debub region 40km south-east of Asmara.

Eritrea
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Global Alliance for People and Planet and the Norwegian government have pledged more funding to support the development of solar power in Sahel countries.

Niger | Chad | Nigeria | Ethiopia | Djibouti | Eritrea | Burkina Faso | Mali
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Two years ago, few in the international community imagined that standout development performer Ethiopia would again be wracked by civil war. Abiy Ahmed, who became prime minister in April 2018, possessed impeccable dovish credentials. A devout Pentecostal Christian who earned a doctorate in peace and conflict research from Addis Ababa University the year before his accession to the premiership, Abiy was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending the 20-year-old conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ethiopia | Eritrea
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The Tigray conflict that has engulfed Ethiopia since last November is rooted in unresolved regional tensions that stem from the overthrow of Mengistu Haile Mariam’s one-party state in 1991 by an alliance of ethno-nationalist groups. Following a 16-year civil war, two principal rebel groups emerged in government led by Tigrinya-speaking neighbours the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Ethiopia | Eritrea
Issue 427 - 19 November 2020

EAPP progress

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Participants at an Africa Investment Exchange panel on strategies for regional integration and transmission investment on 27 October provided an update on the progress of the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP), where the secretariat has been busy preparing for electricity trading and a growing network of interconnections. By far the most advanced construction work is on interconnectors between Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania, which are expected to transmit their first power between April and June next year.

Uganda | Rwanda | Ethiopia | Tanzania | Burundi | Eritrea
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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s in-tray would terrify almost any political leader. He will watch the US election results with special interest after President Donald Trump signalled his frustration over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam by observing that Egypt would “end up blowing up the dam and… they have to do something”. Trump blamed Ethiopia for failed negotiations chaired by the United States earlier this year.

Ethiopia | Eritrea
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UK-based Solarcentury announced in late March that it had completed two rural mini-grids at Areza (1.25MWp) and Maidma (1MWp). The mini-grids use solar photovoltaic modules with Tesla lithium batteries and back-up diesel generators from Caterpillar. Construction took eight months and the grids will now be operated by the Eritrean Electricity Company, whose staff have been trained by Solarcentury.

Eritrea
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The UAE has said it could build an oil pipeline between the Eritrean port of Assab and Addis Ababa in the latest sign of its growing involvement in the Horn of Africa. The proposal was announced on 10 August following talks in Addis Ababa between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and visiting Emirati state minister for international cooperation Reem Al-Hashimi. Ethiopia has been looking at ways to improve fuel supply, and has been holding talks with potential Asian investors on a 120,000 b/d refinery project to supply Ethiopia and the region.

Ethiopia | Eritrea
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Personalities remain a key factor in shaping a continent trying to emerge from lost decades of ‘big man’ politics. While the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) made much of efforts to create a post-conflict ‘developmental state’ in the last two decades, modern Ethiopia was fashioned in the image of the late Meles Zenawi, who harnessed an intolerant, Tigrayan-dominated political system to a rigid but fast-growing (if unbalanced) economy.

Ethiopia | Eritrea