Energy poverty

The World Bank is Bringing Back Big, Bad Dams

Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The big, bad dams of past decades are back in style. In the 1950s and '60s, huge hydropower projects such as the Kariba, Akosombo and Inga dams were supposed to modernise poor African countries almost overnight. It didn't work out this way.

Will Congo’s Poor Benefit from World’s Largest Dam Project?

Mvuzi 3 Community
Africa’s poorest nation, the Democratic Republic of Congo, plans to build the world’s largest and most expensive hydropower dam, Grand Inga on the Congo River’s Inga Falls. A day before I left for the DRC, the huge project took a significant step forward with the signing of a “cooperation treaty” by the DRC and South African governments.

Infrastructure for Whom?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
This report by International Rivers challenges the top-down approach to infrastructure projects promoted by the World Bank and the powerful Group of 20, and presents a better way. Access to clean water and electricity is essential for a healthy, productive life. Yet the top-down infrastructure projects of the past have left more than one billion poor people in the dark. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, donors have spent billions of dollars on dams and transmission lines at the Inga site. The projects serve energy-hungry mining companies, while 94% of the population has no access to elec

Continental Divide: Are African Energy Investments On Target?

Africa at night.
Monday, September 15, 2008
September 2008 World Rivers ReviewAcross Africa, millions of businesses and residential consumers have been hit by costly energy blackouts -an ongoing problem now exacerbated by a major energy shortage in South Africa. Poor planning, decades of under-investment, a slowness to adopt energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources, and stalled large supply projects are all to blame. But because of the continent's huge "electricity divide" - only one in four is plugged into the grid - the electricity crisis affects just a sliver of all Africans. Away from the grid, lighting, cooking and

Big Dams: Bringing Poverty, Not Power to Africa

Electricity passes over a village resettled for Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe
Large hydro dams do not "lift all boats"—in fact, they increase the gap between energy haves and have-nots. Electricity passes over a village resettled for Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe Karin Retief Africa’s large dams (more than 1,270 at last count) have consistently been built at the expense of rural communities, who have been forced to sacrifice their lands and livelihoods to them yet have reaped few benefits. Large hydro dams in Sudan, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia/Zimbabwe and Ghana have brought considerable social, environmental and economic damage to Africa, and have left a trail of "developmen
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