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Sunday, 8 August 2021

Are Sudan and Ethiopia cosying up over electricity?

Sudan is in talks to buy 1 GW of electricity from Ethiopia, Sudan’s energy and oil minister told official news agency SUNA. He added that an Ethiopian delegation was in Khartoum last month to discuss the construction of a new power line, and that Sudanese representatives will soon visit Ethiopia in return.

Both Egypt and Ethiopia have been supplying electricity to Sudan for some time, Jaden Ali Obeid said, adding that Ethiopia currently supplies its neighbor with 200 MW, or 10% of Sudan’s daily electricity needs.

A possible electricity agreement between the two countries comes as they continue to butt heads over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Ethiopian hydropower mega-project that downstream countries Egypt and Sudan say will rob them of their fair share of Nile water. Sudan and Egypt are still refusing to come back to the negotiating table until international mediators are included, while Addis Ababa has said it will only endorse the process led by African Union mediators.

It is unclear whether this 1 GW of electricity will be produced by the GERD, which is expected to produce 6.4 GW when fully operational in the coming years.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed last night to Bahrain, carrying a letter to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi calling for further improved bilateral relations and coordination between the two countries on regional developments, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi talked military cooperation with Iraq’s Defence Minister Jumaah Saadoon, who passed along a letter to El Sisi from Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi commending the two countries’ bilateral ties, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Last year, the two countries signed 15 MoUs covering everything from oil and water resources to construction, transportation and environmental protection, as well as an “oil-for-reconstruction” agreement.

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