(GBN ) — The European International Bank (EIB) has announced it will not fund the construction of the Gibe 3 Dam in Ethiopia, a press release from International Rivers, an NGO has said.
International Rivers, which is leading a coalition of environmental NGOs who are opposed to the construction of the dam in Ethiopia considers the EIB’s withdrawal of funding for the project as a breakthrough in their campaign to stop the construction of the dam.
In the release which was copied to ghanabusinessnews.com International Rivers said “the 1.55 billion Euro hydropower dam would devastate the ecosystems of Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley and Kenya’s Lake Turkana, and affect up to 500,000 people.”
International Rivers which said the announcement has been hailed by Friends of Lake Turkana, and Italy’s Reform the World Bank Campaign called on the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Italian government to refrain from funding the dam. The AfDB is the major funding agency of the dam.
The release indicated that the Gibe 3 Dam is being built by Italian construction company Salini, which received the huge contract without competitive bidding.
It added that the EIB financed the Gibe and Gibe 2 dams, conducted a pre-assessment of the Gibe 3 Dam, and funds the project’s Economic, Financial and Technical Assessment. The no-bidding contract, International Rivers say, violates EIB’s procurement policy.
In March 2009, Friends of Lake Turkana, a group of affected people in Kenya, urged the EIB not to fund Gibe 3 because the affected communities “could not withstand any more pressure on the little resources that we have”.
A meeting between the EIB and Friends of Lake Turkana was scheduled in Nairobi for next week, but on Wednesday June 3, 2009, the head of the EIB complaints office cancelled the meeting and informed the group that the Bank’s President had decided not to fund the project.
During the AfDB’s annual meeting in Senegal, Dakar May 13 to 14, 2009, the coalition of NGOs mounted their campaign against the construction of the dam calling instead on the AfDB to “in the meantime, help Ethiopia drought-proof its energy sector, diversify its energy mix, and tap its abundant renewable energy resources.”