Ethiopia officially began building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile River as a means to address their power crisis. The project is owned and managed by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) and a number of companies are involved with the construction of the dam. The GERD is designed to hold 74 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water and generate 6,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. In comparison, the Hoover Dam and the Niagara Falls power plants each generate about 2,000 MW. The scope of this project includes potentially sharing the electricity to surrounding countries; however, funding would be required for construction of transmission lines. The project is estimated to cost USD $4.8 billion and is projected to be fully operational by July 2017. As of October 2015, the Ethiopian government announced that the dam was 48% completed. There are about 9,000 employees working 24 hours a day at the construction site. The potential impacts of the dam have been a source of severe controversy, particularly between the governments of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Simegnew Bekele is the project manager for the GERD. In this role, his responsibility is to make sure that the gravity-type dam will be completed within the allocated time and budget.
The main teaching objective of this case study is to provide students with knowledge of basic project management techniques and practices such as planning, proposing, scheduling, budgeting, supervising, delegating and setting priorities.