June 24, 2021 — Talking to the National, South Sudan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs reveals the world’s youngest nation plan to build a major dam along the River Nile to help the country generates its own electricity and to boost economy.
According to Hon. Deng Dau Deng Malek, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, this strategic plan will kick off industrialization and helps the country competes within the region and also abroad.
“This is a strategic plan of the country, the government has a plan to build a dam for the generation of electricity and power because you can’t have a country without industrialization,” Hon. Deng Dau said.
Once constructed, the dam will also accommodate enough water to reduce devastating floods that are currently displacing hundreds of thousands in almost half of the country’s ten states.
“Look at the country today, most of South Sudan is flooded as we speak. The Upper Nile State is under water. We weren’t given the opportunity as a country to think and plan. You look at the needs of the population, you look at the growing industries,” Dau said.
While planning to construct the dam, South Sudan will also be mindful of environmental impacts, hydrological aspects and as well as what the neighboring countries may think.
“We will take into consideration, when building the dam, the environmental impact and the hydrological aspect. You look at the sustainability of it, you look at the neighborhood, you can’t do that overnight. You also anticipate the problems that might come ahead,” he said.
South Sudan, a young nation that gained independence in July 2011 but returned to war in 2013, has tabled many ambitious projects since independence but due to war and economic downtimes, none of these national projects has been realized.
Malek believes that with the relative peace South Sudan is currently sitting on, the young nation will try to restructure and strategize ways to advance development.
“We have been kept at war for many years. From 2013 until today, there’s still some fighting – we have just reached a peace agreement now. We are trying to restructure and to see how the country will be able to move,” he said.
The plan to build a major dam along the White Nile, one of the two tributaries of the River Nile that meet near Khartoum and proceed to Egypt, may raise an alarm in Egypt as the Egyptians are already at a loggerhead with the Ethiopians for construction a mega dam along the Blue Nile.
South Sudan has good bilateral relationships with both Egypt and Ethiopia; however, it has remained neutral in Ethio-Egyptian feuds over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD), a $5 billion US dollar project that is expected to generate 16,153 GWh.
South Sudan is yet to reveal how big the dam will be or how many kilowatts per hour the dam is likely to generate; however, the young nation has no other source of power but it’s also economically constrained.