NGOs Urge IFC to Consider WCD

Wednesday, December 13, 2000
A sign–on letter urging the head of the IFC to evaluate the Bujagali Dam against WCD guidelines. Peter Woicke Executive Vice President International Finance Corporation 2121 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20433 Rome, December 13, 2000 Re: Bujagali Dam project – Uganda Dear Mr. Woicke: We are writing to you to express our concern about the Bujagali dam project in Uganda, which is currently being considered for funding by the IFC. We have been very closely following developments related to this project and have carefully evaluated its pros and cons as well as the concerns already

Letter to International Finance Corporation: Uganda energy solutions

Friday, October 20, 2000
Peter Woicke Executive Vice President International Finance Corporation 2121 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20433 Dear Mr. Woicke: I read with interest the article about you in the October 8, 2000 edition of Business Week, in which you say that the proposed Bujagali Dam in Uganda will help the rural poor access electricity and reduce their need for fuelwood. The notion that the Bujagali project itself will lead to widespread rural electrification seems excessively optimistic, and is not supported by World Bank analysis. (Although the Power IV project includes extension of the grid t

Environmental Impacts of Large Dams: African examples

Tuesday, October 1, 1996
Land and water are ecologically linked in a natural system called a watershed. From the smallest droplet to the mightiest river, water works to shape the land, taking with it sediment and dissolved materials that drain to watercourses and, in most cases, eventually to the sea. So, too, is the river a product of the land it inhabits––the type of rock and soil, the shape of the land, and the amount of vegetation are some of the factors that determine the river’s shape, size and flow. When these ties between the land and the river are broken by a large dam, the consequences are felt throu

IFC & MIGA Propose Corporate Welfare for World’s Largest Power Producer

Thursday, April 13, 2000
The U.S.–based AES corporation, the largest independent power producer in the world with assets of $11 billion, is currently in line to receive a partial–risk guarantee from IDA and loans from the IFC to construct a US$520–million dam near Bujagali Falls on the Nile. The dam would create a socially and environmentally destructive reservoir, and would drown the spectacular Bujagali Falls. Worse, the project’s power would not meet the needs of the vast majority of the country’s population. The IFC is currently appraising the project, and is expected to decide within six months whether

Nile Basin

Rowing on the Nile, Sudan
The Nile – the world’s longest river – runs through 10 countries, four of which are "water scarce." The Nile Basin covers an area of around 3 million km2, or nearly 10% of the landmass of the African continent, and is home to 160 million people. Water experts believe there is not enough water in the river to meet the various irrigation goals of the Nile basin nations. Adding to potential water stress, many large hydropower dams are being built or considered.

Lesotho Water Project

The Orange River has its headwaters in the high mountains of Lesotho, a tiny nation completely surrounded by South Africa. The rural mountain communities farm and herd animals, proud of their ability to survive the harsh conditions. Their mountain watersheds are being turned into lakes, however, by the massive Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). The multi–billion project is designed to divert water from the Orange River to South Africa’s urban and industrial center through a series of dams and tunnels blasted through the mountains.

Kunene River, Namibia

A Himba man at the Kunene River, upstream of the Epupa dam site.
The Kunene River is one of just five perennial rivers in arid Namibia, and is considered a precious resource by those who live near it. The river has for centuries supported the semi–nomadic Himba people, who are one of Africa’s most successful remaining pastoralist peoples. The government of Namibia has long intended to build a huge hydroelectric scheme on the Kunene.

Grand Inga Dam, DR Congo

Grand Inga, the world’s largest hydropower scheme, is proposed for the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of Africa’s most politically volatile and corruption-plagued countries. But with a price tag of US$80 billion, concerns are growing that foreign companies will gain vast economic benefits from this mega-project, taking attention away from the development needs of Africa’s poor majority. The poor maintenance and financial problems of Inga 1 and 2 raise concerns about the risks of Inga 3 and Grand Inga.

World Rivers Review – Focus on Africa – August 2006

What's Inside: Climate Change: A concerted international effort is urgently needed to ensure that Africa does not slip into climate-induced chaos. Commentary: Decisions taken now on Africa's water and energy infrastructure will set the stage for the next 50 years. We'd better get it right. China: Africa's new best friend is building dams with serious social and environmental impacts. Ethiopia: A water storage dilemma – small, medium or large dams? – is being played out in Africa's "water tower." World Bank: An internal conflict pits Bank staf

A Big Idea for Aiding Africa –– Think Small

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
For too long, the World Bank has invested in grandiose projects that do little or nothing to help the poor. It’s time for its leaders to abandon the grand vision and embrace a down–to–earth approach. AS THE WORLD’S financial leaders gather in Washington this weekend for the annual meetings of the World Bank, help for Africa will be high on their agenda. Paul Wolfowitz, the bank’s president, has declared Africa and its poorest people to be his top priority. And the decision at the G–8 summit in July to make the bank the main administrator of funds committed to Africa adds weight to


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