The government of Ethiopia said it will complete the construction of a series of hydropower dams within the next five years in order to speed up agricultural development.

The projects will increase the country’s power generating capacity from 340 MW to around 713 MW, Reuters reports. The government plans to finance the power schemes with support from the World Bank and the European Union.

The schemes include a 72 MW plant called Tisabay at the source of the Blue Nile. This has now been completed, while Tisabay II, a further 73 MW project, is scheduled for completion in two years. Both are government funded.

Finchaa IV, with a capacity of 73 MW, in western Ethiopia, is due to be completed around 2000. Gilgel-Gibe, a 103 MW project which is being supported with $300 million from the World Bank, is expected to enter service in 2001.

Meanwhile tenders are being sought for two further hydro schemes, the 203 MW Tekeze and Gojeb, with a capacity of 154 MW. In addition, the government expects to commission a 35 MW geothermal power station in the Rift Valley within six months.