Ethiopia opens massive Gibe 3 hydroelectric dam on Omo River

Ethiopia has officially opened the Gibe 3 hydroelectric dam, which is among the biggest in Africa, despite concerns by environmentalists about its impact downstream and upon neighboring countries.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Saturday while opening the dam that Ethiopia aims to produce 15,000 megawatts of electricity in the coming five years.

Officials say Gibe 3 makes Ethiopia one of the biggest producers and consumers of renewable energy in Africa. They say the dam will help Eithopia meet its own and neighboring countries' increasing demands for cheap and renewable electricity.

Gibe 3 is part of the Ethiopian government's efforts to build a series of dams on the Omo River, which runs into Lake Turkana in Kenya. Environmentalists say the dams could lead to livelihood losses and increased local conflicts.