Ethiopia energy project meets opposition

The European Investment Bank has received a request to provide a whopping USD1.7 billion in financial support to construct the Gilgel Gibe 3 dam in Ethiopia, the largest infrastructure project in the country to date. Ethiopian President Girma Woldegoirgis has lauded the dam’s construction as an energy scheme to help the government reduce poverty levels in the northeastern African state. Environmentalists and social policy activists, however, insist that the ambitious effort will have dire effects on the existing Gibe-Obo ecosystem. Although roughly 400 pastoralists in the area are in danger of losing grazing grounds to the construction of the dam, none of the locals have been consulted about how the project will ultimately affect them and their livelihoods. According to the EIB, “in order to qualify for funding, the EIB’s normal thorough project appraisal procedure would need to demonstrate that the project meets the EIB’s requirements on environmental and social standards, is technically, economically and financially viable and complies with relevant practices and standards regarding procurement.” (Source: Ethiopia: Aid for Country’s Dam Challenged/Inter Press Service)

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