The Merowe dam

Client: Alstom France

Chinese companies became established in the Sudan in the 1980’s. They are principally involved in the oil business and recently the China International Water & Electricity Corporation has begun construction of the Merowe dam. One of the world’s largest projects began here in the vast Baiyuda Desert in 2003 with the aim of tripling Sudan’s power generating capacity. The project is valued at 1.73 billion dollars and was financed in part from Arabic development funds (Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Kuwait). The Chinese firm is the main contractor on the dam, along with the French company Alstom, and the German firm Lahmeyer. The project is expected to produce 1250 MW when it becomes operational in 2008.

The Merowe dam is nearly 10 km long and will hold back a 200 km2 lake, comparable to Lake Nasser and the Aswan dam built in 1971. The power generated is supposed put an end to the country’s frequent power cuts and will stimulate the economy by opening up new agricultural lands. The idea for the dam came in 1929 from the British, and, its final implementation has had the effect of reducing Egyptian influence on the Treaty of the Nile Waters.