Abidjan - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will meet President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi of Egypt to discuss a 5,150-megawatt dam that has strained relations between the two nations over access to water.

Egypt is concerned that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam being built 3,200km upstream will restrict the flow of water in the Nile River, which it relies on for most of its needs. Ethiopia insists the $4.75 billion project is essential to its economic development and has sought to reassure Egypt that it will be used for energy only.

“We believe the dam will benefit all, including Egypt,” Abiy told lawmakers in the capital, Addis Ababa. “No force is going to stop Ethiopia from building the dam, this should be underlined.”

The dam is running over budget and is behind schedule by three years.

Almost two-thirds of Egypt’s water originates in the Ethiopian Highlands along the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two main tributaries. The Nile provides most of Egypt’s fresh water supply, 85 per cent of which is used for agriculture along the fertile Nile Delta.