A colossal dam is near completion on Ethiopia’s stretch of the Nile, a project so large that it promises to set the country on a path to industrialization that could lift tens of millions out of poverty.
Downstream in Egypt, where the Nile meets the sea, a starkly different picture emerges: The dam is a giant, menacing barrier that could be used to hold back the source of nearly all the country’s water.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has stoked intense nationalistic fervor in both Ethiopia and Egypt. Ethiopians see building the dam as a fundamental right, one that could bring electricity to the more than half of Ethiopians who don’t have access at home. Egyptians see their fate potentially falling into foreign hands.