Chinese Dams in Africa

The Zambezi River in Mozambique
Chinese corporations, financial institutions, and the government are involved in billions of dollars worth of large dams in Africa. Civil society and dam-affected peoples’ movements are concerned that China’s own poor record on protecting human rights and the environment could mean trouble for African rivers now targeted for Chinese dam companies.

Dam Safety in Southern Africa: Will the Walls Come Tumbling Down?

Kariba Faults
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Mozambican NGO, JA-Justica Ambiental released the following statement on the dam safety in Southern African region for the Day of Action for Rivers, Water and Life in 2006. As a developing country, Mozambique, and the whole Southern African region, has a growing demand for electricity. Given Mozambique’s hydroelectric potential, much interest has been shown in building more dams on some of the country’s large rivers. The project that has been most keenly examined is the Mphanda Nkuwa Dam, proposed for the lower Zambezi about midway between the City of Tete and the existing Cahora B

Harvesting Sweet Energy from Africa's Sugar Industry

Friday, December 1, 2006
Sugar is king in Mauritius, accounting for 90% of cropland, 25% of foreign exchange earnings, and supporting 1 in every 18 residents of this tiny island nation. But sugar is not the only export coming from the cane fields – electricity is a valuable byproduct of the harvest.For nearly 50 years, Mauritius has been using agricultural waste from its sugar industry to help electrify the nation. Not only does Mauritius have the highest electricity access rate in Africa – often cited at 100% – but more than a third of its electricity comes from power plants using bagasse, the fibrous waste fr

Electric Capitalism: Recolonising Africa on the Power Grid

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This book analyzes Africa's choices, and includes a chapter by International Rivers' Africa team on hydropower. Essays by leading academics and activists cover the most important developments in the continent's energy sector today, and their implications for poverty reduction, environmental and human health, gender equity, and socio-economic justice. "Although Africa is the most under-supplied region in the world for electricity, its economies are utterly dependent on it. There are enormous inequalities in electricity access, with industry receiving abundant supplies of

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

Defending the Zambezi: Africa's River of Life

Monday, October 13, 2008
The Zambezi is one of the most heavily dammed rivers in Africa. More than 30 large dams have already been built throughout its basin, at great cost to local people and wildlife. These impacts have been particularly harsh in Mozambique, where Cahora Bassa Dam displaced tens of thousands of people, and severely degraded downstream floodplains and fisheries. Now, the Mozambican government -- with Brazil and China's help -- wants to build a large dam, called Mphanda Nkuwa, 60km downstream from Cahora Bassa.

Damming Nigeria's Wetlands People: Communities Work Together to Restore Lives And Livelihoods

Flooding in Nigeria's HJKY basin is a serious problem.
June 2008 World Rivers Review: Legacy Issue In Nigeria, floodplains and wetlands are rich sources of livelihood for millions of people. These wetlands communities have been losing ground for many years, however. Nigeria's most important wetlands, the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands, have shrunk by as much as two-thirds in the past 30-40 years because of diversions from dams, irrigation developments and drought. Fisheries, farming and wildlife are all impacted by these hydrological changes. The Hadejia-Jama'are-Komadugu-Yobe basin - home to an estimated 25 million people - is a semi-arid to arid sub-cat

Grand Inga: Leaving Africans in the Dark?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The potential to profit from the world's largest dam project – the Grand Inga hydropower scheme, proposed for the Congo River – drew bankers, engineering firms and industrial interests to London in April 2008 to discuss financing for the $80 billion project. African civil society has been raising concerns about the project for some time, but was blocked from attending the London event. The meeting made clear that both the proposed Inga 3 and Grand Inga schemes would be developed primarily for major industries such as aluminum and mining interests. Project promoters would like the d

Strategies to Scale-up Renewable Energy Market in Africa

Friday, April 11, 2008
A position paper developed by NGOs and other stakeholders for the International Conference on Renewable Energy in Africa, 16-18 April 2008, Dakar, Senegal Coordinated by Community Research and Development Centre, Nigeria Preamble Energy is essential for socio-economic, human and technological development. Although there is no MDG on energy, access to energy is a fundamental ingredient to achieve the MDGs. Access to clean modern energy services is an enormous challenge facing the African continent. Africa accounts for about 3% of world energy consumption, the lowest per capita modern e

The Silver Lining in South Africa's Power Crisis

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
March 2008 World Rivers Review  South Africa is in the grip of a severe energy crisis, complete with rolling blackouts, industries stopping operations, much blaming and frustration - and plenty of opportunities. The crisis now squeezing Africa's most industrialized (and electrified) nation has been brewing for some time. Eskom is one of the largest single electricity utilities in the world - it produces 96% of South Africa's electricity and 85% of Sub-Saharan Africa's electricity. Its electricity is the cheapest and among the dirtiest in the world. South Africa has be


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