In the Rift Valley region of Kenya, Simon Sencho looks at the mountains that surround the village which used to be his home. He’s one of a thousand Maasai people who had to move, to give way to the Olkaria geothermal plant.
Meanwhile, 380 kilometres north, in Marsabit County, a separate group of about 1,200 indigenous people have been resettled to a different part of the Lake Turkana region to make way for a wind farm.
Both of these projects have EU money behind them. In fact, in the last decade the EIB has given more money to Kenya than to any other African country. The EU’s lending arm, the EIB, supplied a loan of 119 million Euros for the expansion of the Olkaria I and IV geothermal plants and 225 million Euros in funding for the Lake Turkana Wind Project.
The struggle of the Olkaria Maasai
Located south of Lake Naivasha in central Kenya, the Olkaria region has exceptional geothermal potential. The company in charge of the expansion of the Olkaria I and IV geothermal plants is KenGen, which is 70% controlled by the government. The development is financed by the EIB, the World Bank, the French Development Agency, the Kenyan government and others.
1,000 Olkaria Maasai were resettled in August 2014 to make way for the expansion. “KenGen is a big machinery against us, we cannot face it” says Simon Sencho, a Maasai who runs a cultural centre for tourists in the area “In our hearts and our minds we know it’s against our traditions to have left”, he says.
KenGen promised them title deeds with their new homes in August 2014, but they’re still waiting. “We were given promises […], they said after resettlement we will do this for you. Up to now none of those problems has been addressed”, says Sencho.
They sent their complaints to the EIB and the World Bank. Both concluded that KenGen should have transferred the title deeds before the relocation.
“There is no guarantee that the land will belong to us one day”
Jeanette Schade, a human rights researcher at Bielefeld University says a delay in Kenyan legislation on community land could have been part of the problem, as KenGen has argued, “In 2012, they adopted a land act which regulates private and public land but the community land act has been adopted last year ”.
After mediation by the EIB, the Olkaria community and KenGen signed a new agreement on title deeds in 2016. But KenGen later offered a leasehold of indeterminate duration instead of a land title. “Now the Community Land Act is adopted I don’t see why the community wouldn’t get proper title deeds”, says Schade. But Sencho is not convinced, “There is no guarantee that the land will belong to us one day”.
The semipastoralist Olkaria Maasai feel that KenGen, and the funders, also neglected their rights; they’re recognized as indigenous people by the African Union’s Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights. According to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, they are entitled to a share of profits when natural resources are exploited on their land. However, in Kenya only hunters and gatherers are considered indigenous. “For political reasons, they have problems classifying pastoralist people communities as indigenous”, says Schade. “Communities already in 2011 demanded some kind of benefit sharing from KenGen which rejected it, saying there was not national law on which this benefit sharing could be based on”, she adds.
“These communities did not fulfill all four criteria of an indigenous way of life.”
Eleni Kyrou, a social development specialist at the EIB’s Environmental and Social Office, told us the bank didn’t classify the Olkaria people as indigenous because “these communities did not fulfill all four criteria of an indigenous way of life. Their means of existence were not homogeneous, in that they were not only land-based and their production was not primarily self-sufficient”, says Kyrou.
She also explained that one of the reasons the bank didn’t trigger its indigenous policy during the appraisal phase in 2009 was to avoid aggravating tribal tension in Kenya, in the wake of earlier violence that had broken out around elections: “The lenders demonstrated sensitivity as to what was going on in the country, given it was just emerging from the 2007-2008 violent civil unrest”. Kyrou added that the EIB does consider the affected people to qualify as a “vulnerable community”.
Talks between the community and KenGen have now stalled. Simon Sencho, of the Olkaria Maasai, has warned KenGen that the Olkaria may retake their land. “We are ready to block Olkaria IV”, Sencho says. In response, KenGen threatened to sue Simon and other Maasai, but the case was dropped.
Anna Roggenbuck from Bankwatch, a banking watchdog, considers the EIB could do more to protect community leaders who complain. “The EIB could have mitigated the risk by making it clear to the company at the beginning that intimidating people is not acceptable” says Roggenbuck. In a letter to Bankwatch the EIB agreed that “any potential retaliation against project-affected communities would be unacceptable”.
We tried to reach KenGen to discuss these points, but they have not responded.
The Maasai want to find a solution with KenGen, but time is running out. While they wait, they fear more Olkaria expansions and are worried that another geothermal plant (Akiira) will be located close to their new settlement, both projects for which EIB funding has been requested.
Kenya and Ethiopia are the fastest growing economies in the region
Winds of uncertainty around Lake Turkana
The Lake Turkana Wind Project (LTWP) is the largest foreign project in Kenya and also the largest wind farm in the country. Its turbines are in place and are ready to provide a fifth of Kenya’s power, by taking advantage of one of the windiest regions in the world. The Dutch company KP&P Africa BV started the project. As well as the EIB, the African Development Bank, Vestas, Norfund, Proparco and the Dutch Government, among others, fund the LTWP.
On July 10th, 2014 in Luxembourg, during its annual meeting with the ACP group of African and Caribbean countries, the EIB presented the Lake Turkana Wind Project as one of its successes. The project has been acclaimed internationally, but the indigenous people living in the Loiyangalani district have had a troubled relationship with it.
For them land is a source of lifestyle, identity, of livelihood. If you take it away you leave them with nothing”
Plans for the LTWP to use 40,000 acres of land, and to need an additional 110,000 acres as a buffer zone and for “future developments”, alarmed indigenous groups in Loiyangalani. The El Molo, Samburu, Rendille and Turkana ethnic groups consider the area to be their ancestral land, something they made clear to us when we visited their villages. These indigenous people are recognized by the African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights.
Their main complaint concerns how the LTWP received the concession for the 150,000 acres in 2009. The community has started a legal case demanding the project be stopped or at least forced to compensate them for their land. “For them land is a source of lifestyle, identity, of livelihood, so if you take their lifestyle, culture, heritage, identify and livelihood, you leave them with nothing”, says their lawyer Amina Hashi.
In November 2016, Justice Peter Njoroge at the High Court in Meru, eastern Kenya, ordered that the project continue and told both parties to negotiate, but talks have stalled since then. The court also limited the project to 87,500 acres, instead of 150,000. In Nairobi the communities’ lawyer Amina Hashi told us their case centred on one main point: “how were 150,000 acres of community land alienated and was it alienated in accordance with the setting apart process, with the Trust Land Act [now repealed] and the Constitution of Kenya?”.
According to the Kenyan law if land is acquired for development, and people are living on or using this land, then a special board has to be set up to consult with the people who will be affected. “The community feels this divisional board never started,” says Hashi. The Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Charles Keter told us that the Marsabit County Council handled the leasing of the land to LTWP correctly. “There must be consent by the local authority” says Keter, adding that he doesn’t see how it could be operating without this permission from the local authority. The LTWP website says the community will be able to graze animals in the leased area and that project structures will only occupy 0.2% of the 40,000 acres it has acquired.
Although part of the community is grateful that the LWTP and its foundation Winds of Change have shared benefits with them through 60 community projects, some promises haven’t been kept. Sarima is a village whose inhabitants were moved to make way for a road to the wind farm. Simon Ekitoye, a 60-year-old villager, says the only promise kept was to build a water hole, which only works occasionally. “It isn’t enough to provide for us all as we have to fetch water even at night. Sometimes the children don’t get water”. Another villager, Mary Gnumi, says they’re still waiting for a promised hospital. “They said they would build some but they have not”.
While the EIB social expert assessing the Lake Turkana Wind Project, Eleni Kyrou, could not confirm commitments from LTWP to provide schools or hospitals, she emphasized that the project had brought hundreds of temporary jobs to Sarima. “They [LTWP] volunteered and followed through with the establishment of a recruitment plan carrying a tribal distribution of employment opportunities. It’s not something you see very often”, says Kyrou.
While they wait for their lawyer to appeal the High Court’s decision, the Sarima villagers wonder whether the development has been worth it.
LTWP refused our request for an interview and the EIB declined to comment on issues related to the legal case. Now that the project is expected to start operating in the middle of 2017 when its turbines will start feeding a country hungry for energy, the indigenous people wonder what will happen to their sacred treasure: their land.
The place of indigenous people in Kenya’s energy rush
Although the communities affected by the Olkaria and Turkana projects understand that the country needs development, they would have liked to be treated better. Mali Ole Kaunga, a Kenyan indigenous expert says respect of collective land and profit sharing are key to improving the situation. “You need to tell me [an indigenous person] why you need my land, what my role will be and what’s my future involvement in that land”.
While Kenya tries to increase its energy production, both the Olkaria and Sarima communities hope they won’t be forgotten.
Green shades of the tropical forest surrounding Madagascar’s largest seaport, Tamatave, is all that Google Maps shows. Then there is the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean. But zooming in, some 20 kilometres southwest of the city, you can see it. Satellite images reveal meandering streams of a sickly, reddish color. A tentacular anomaly in the middle of the forest, like a crimson octopus, one that owes nothing to nature and everything to a manmade operation: a huge mining project undertaken in the name of development.
These reddish lakes have become the symbol of the Ambatovy mine, a massive operation of eight billion dollars today that’s designed to extract nickel and cobalt from Madagascar’s rich soil. The project initially cost just under four billion dollars and was started in 2007 by a relatively small Canadian mining company, Dynatec, which got half of its funding from development institution loans. The EIB granted 8% of this investment, with a 305 million dollar loan.
“I had 350 hives and suddenly, all the bees died off within three months.”
But the private sector’s promised development has been slow to materialize. The project only really began five years later, in 2012. In the meantime, insecticides had been sprayed over the facilities to protect construction workers from malaria. Those living next to the mine were the first to realize that something had gone seriously wrong.
Bees were disappearing, pollination had stopped and crops were dying. Jean-Louis Bérard, a retired French architect who owns 300 hectares of land in Madagascar and who had just started to grow litchis, remembers: “I had 350 hives and suddenly, starting in September 2007, all the bees died off within three months.” Local farmers within a 25 to 30 km range of the mine were having the same problem and started to suspect that Ambatovy’s insecticides were the reason the bees had disappeared, and crops had not been pollinated. On average, this represented “a loss of 40 tons of honey, 1,000 tons of rice, 30,000 tons of litchis, 10,000 tons of coconuts and 1,000 tons of coffee every year”, estimates Jean-Louis Bérard.
At that point, the project’s first promoter was already gone as well. Dynatec had been taken over by another Canadian company, Toronto-based Sherritt. But the problems linked to the Ambatovy mine got quickly worse. One of the reasons was that this massive operation consists of several parts: the open pit mine 200 kilometres from Tamatave; a 200-kilometre partially-buried pipeline for ore and water slurry that connects the mine to the Tamatave processing plant; a 750-hectare facility outside Tamatave comprising waste lakes and a series of interconnecting dams where leftover “tailing” material is stored. The project also involves expanding the port to allow for imports of raw materials and export of a mixed metal sulphide.
A forest of 2500 ha was directly affected by the project and some households were displaced as a result of controversial compensation agreements that divided the community. The NGO Re:Common has discovered that relocation involved moving rice paddy farmers to less fertile lands that are prone to flooding.
The second environmental warning came on February 26, 2012. During factory trials, a malfunctioning valve caused a sulphur-dioxide leak, and 50 people in the facility were poisoned. Three similar incidents followed. In August that same year, the lake in the tailing facility started leaking and repairs had to be commissioned. The inhabitants were also faced with the smell from an ammonia transporting pipeline that cut through residential areas in Tamatave between the port and the factory.
“Ammonia irritates the eyes and makes our throats dry,” says Rameliarisoa Bako, who lives in the Canada Sud area of Tamatave. “Children complain of mouth infections; old people complain of eye infections. We think this is because of the substances Amabatovy uses”.
“There was such a strong smell of sulfuric acid that we almost suffocated”
The EIB Complaints Mechanism Division in Luxemburg received five complaints. Jean-Louis Bérard who drafted these complaints clearly remembers the day he took EIB staff on a tour of the tailing facility. “Ambatovy had started to stock solid waste two months before. We couldn’t get through because there had been a leak. There was such a strong smell of sulfuric acid that we almost suffocated”, he says.
The EIB Complaints Mechanism experts who came to investigate the problem of the disappearing bees seemed overwhelmed. In their initial report they attributed the reddish color of the waste coming from the plant to the presence of laterite, a reddish clay-like material. But they didn’t hide the fact that there were reasons to be worried: extreme weather could cause the waste lakes to flood the surrounding environment and leaks in the pipeline between the factory and the tailing facility could cause further pollution. In the end, the EIB staff didn’t have the environmental expertise to conduct such a complex investigation and had no choice but to adopt the main points of a report done by a small Colorado-based consultancy, CAM. This company advises the lenders but is hired and paid by Ambatovy. This is common practice in development projects but is often criticized as a potential conflict of interest.
Meanwhile, the EIB Complaints Mechanism had hired its own consultancy company, COWI, to help draft a final report. Not many people have seen it, as its publication has been delayed. The flaws in the Ambatovy project have divided EIB management and the some managers made it clear they wanted changes made to the report. “We made compromises but now it will go to the management committee for a decision and then it will be published. Some of the allegations were justified. Not everything”, is all that Felismino Alcarpe, the head of the EIB’s Complaints Mechanism would say.
“We’ve suffered from illnesses and bad drinking water. Every day, we feel sick”
Today, environmental concerns surrounding the Ambatovy project continue to grow. Tamatave fishermen wonder about the waste dumped into the sea. Inhabitants say that the water of local rivers has been affected, which has consequences for fauna, crops and most of all human health. “Before Sherritt arrived, we had drinking water,” says Mada, another inhabitant. “But since this dam [on the waste lake] was built, we’ve suffered from illnesses and bad drinking water. Every day, we feel sick.” The EIB staff in Luxembourg don’t see how this could be the case. According to them, water sample analysis of the rivers in the area shows nothing other than a higher than average level of manganese, a situation that the mine’s managers are trying to keep in check but which doesn’t affect human health. Still, Ambatovy has acknowledged to us in a written reply that a few villages around the waste lake had to be provided with drinking water for a while “before a water distribution network was delivered” to these communities.
Why would such investment be necessary if the higher manganese levels don’t affect human health? Ambatovy replied that water was provided “when the manganese levels measured in the Park [waste lake] is sometimes a little higher than international standards. […] This water distribution is undertaken to dissipate fears in the population”.
While Ambatovy stresses it is constantly monitoring that water and air quality are in line with international standards and that a grievance mechanism is in place locally, at the end of January 2017 our team of local journalists were able to confirm the strong smell of sulfuric acid mentioned by interviewees.
Now that the insecticide spraying has stopped, about 60% of the bees are back, says Jean-Louis Bérard. Still, nobody knows what long-term effects the spraying will have on human health. Above all, everyone is fearful of a leak from the waste lake, or the next storm (after all the deforestation and earth removal in the project they’re worried about a landslide).
CAM, the consultancy that reports back to the lenders, keeps visiting and provides reports on a quarterly basis while the EIB visits at least once a year. Its staff has heard complaints: “we have had issues raised – environmental and social issues – and we take it up with the management of the company,” stresses Eva Maria Mayerhofer, an EIB Senior Environmental Specialist. Some of these issues arise because there is not sufficient stakeholder engagement by those clients”, she says, referring to allegations that some private borrowers are prepared to take the money but won’t commit to the development aspect.
“ONE must produce a report every six months, but it just can’t afford to do so any longer”
There is certainly not much regulatory pressure either: Ambatovy finances the monitoring of the project’s environmental impact that’s carried out by Madagascar’s National Environment Office (ONE). Cecile Bidaud, a biodiversity researcher at Bangor University, says this environmental monitoring is not done systematically.
“This environmental monitoring is problematic. Relatively few funds were allocated [for monitoring] and those funds were spent at the beginning of the project. ONE has a 30-year contract with Ambatovy and must produce a report every six months, but it just can’t afford to do so any longer”.
So what is left for people in Madagascar? “I helped the authorities to establish the project and I can tell you that Ambatovy has proved to be very disappointing”, says Ramanantsialonina Abel, a local figure who lives in Ampitambe, Moramanga east of the capital Antananarivo. “The company doesn’t hire local employees and those who did get themselves recruited were fired. Ambatovy has destroyed many things. Erosion has ruined the paddy fields and the forest, the water streams have dried up and the project has had a negative effect on our health”, he says.
But worse may be yet to come. The commodities cycle has turned since the 2000s and there has been an acute slowdown in demand for minerals. A free fall of nickel prices has caused massive financial losses for the Ambatovy mining complex and more pain for Sherritt. The Canadian miner has been trying hard to reduce its exposure to the project. A blockage in the tailing pipeline and what Sherritt called “plant equipment reliability issues” contributed to sluggish 2016 financial results for Ambatovy. By the summer the joint venture was short of cash and negotiated with its lenders, including the EIB, to reschedule its debt. Demonstrations by laid-off workers regularly add to social tension and the population’s sense of despair in Tamatave. In Ambatovy, the marriage of economic development with private interests seems to be an unhappy one.
Mining : an EIB special interest?
Between 2006 and 2016, a quarter of the EIB’s ACP funding went into energy projects (2 billion euros) and 5% financed mining operations. The EIB says that projects in the mining sector are usually prime projects for bringing value to indigenous natural resources, increasing export revenues and generating fiscal income for the country through royalties and corporate taxes. Since the 1990s, it has invested for example in graphite and titanium mines in Mozambique, gold mines in Papua New Guinea and Mali, or a diamond mine in Botswana.
But it didn’t take long before the institution was facing the scandal of the Mopani copper mine in Zambia. In 2005, it had granted a 50 million euro loan to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide at the plant. Amidst reports of financial and tax irregularities, a subsequent investigation by the Zambian authorities and health complaints by residents due to air and water pollution, Mopani’s parent company, the Switzerland based multinational Glencore, quietly ended its contractual relationship with the EIB, paying back it’s loan early in 2012. The European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF closed its investigation with no action because “no EU budget funds were involved”.
Nowadays, the EIB involvement in the mining sector has become more cautious. Since 2001 the institution is an equity holder into all the Africa Lion mining funds. It invested 15 million USD of the Investment Facility into the 79 million USD Africa Lion III. The fund has stakes in several African mines.
It is another hot day in Kribi, a booming coastal city of 80,000 people that’s located 300 kilometres from the capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé. Kribi sits on a road that stretches along a rainforest, one of the largest in Africa, before it begins to follow the coastline. Off the coast lie the gas reserves of Sanaga South.
The coastal town draws most of its income from tourism but for several years now, it has been at the heart of a cluster of energy projects which involve the construction of a port and a gas-powered electricity station nine kilometres from the city. Locals initially greeted these projects with enthusiasm, expecting economic opportunities and more electricity for their homes. The construction of the electricity plant, which is connected to the offshore gas facility by an 18 km pipeline, began in 2012. Commercial operations started the following year.
Two years earlier the project promoter, Cameroon’s national electricity producer AES SONEL, had commissioned an environmental and social impact study of the future plant. In the meantime, the project’s financing plan had been finalized; the EIB joined a consortium of development financiers, which included the World Bank’s development arm (IFC), with a loan of almost thirty million Euros. Like the World Bank, the EIB’s decision to come on board was made after study of the impact assessment that the promoter provided.
“We thought it might be something temporary”
The gas processing plant was originally designed to use four gas turbines. But the project ended up with piston engines instead, a cheaper technology that is considered outdated.
People living near the station quickly realized that the plant was not the bargain they had envisaged. They did get a new primary school and free electricity, but a new hospital never materialized and access to water remained far from ideal. On top of this, the plant generates vibrations and a loud, persistent, humming. “We thought it might be something temporary”, says one woman who lives nearby, “and that at some point we would be free of the noise, but we live with it 24 hours a day. Even at night the machines do not stop working”.
The plant was built too close to many homes and its designers didn’t seem to have anticipated these side effects, especially as the city continues to expand and grow closer to the plant.
“We had seminars”, recalls a man who lives next to the plant and who, like most of the interviewees, doesn’t want to give his name, “but we were not told there would be so much noise. We were even told that you could live 100 metres away and you would be fine. But to our surprise, it’s a problem. I currently suffer from problems with nerves and if I stay here too long it causes me headaches”. Children and adults complain of hearing problems, but that risk was totally ignored by the impact report. Ironically, the noise risk assessment in the impact study was commissioned from the very company that supplied the piston engines, Wärtsilä.
“It only stops only when controllers come and visit the plant”
Today, most of the inhabitants have become experts in imitating this persistent whirring, which they describe as a kind of aural bombardment that causes a constant ripple of noise across the roofs of sheet metal.
“It only stops only when controllers come and visit the plant”, adds another inhabitant. Above their heads, the electric transmission line from the power station cuts through the forest, close to the roofs of some houses. According to Victorien Mba, director of a local NGO called APED (Support for the Protection of the Environment and Development), noise pollution is a daily reality: “When the turbines start, you feel these enormous vibrations. When it gets hot, the pylons that carry electricity whistle terribly. It’s as if your eardrums are going to crack, with these noises”.
A few kilometres from the power plant Simon Mvoum, a leader in Mpolongowe village, has a more acute problem: access to drinking water. The project has provided water wells, to help the community, but the well set up at the entrance to his house doesn’t produce drinkable water. He says that most of the time the well doesn’t work properly and calls to the company to have it repaired have fallen on deaf ears. “In fact, this well doesn’t exist”, he says. “The water is salty, almost like sea water, so we don’t drink it. The only available well is on the road near the entrance to the power station. But sometimes the water pumps stop and we have to wait up to a week for any drinking water”.
The Kribi inhabitants who live near the plant are resigned. Victorien Mba spent a long time trying to understand how the project works. But he cannot find the documents he needs: “To start with, we do not know how the [project] promoter planned to mitigate these effects. So there are problems, such as access to drinking water and the pollution of running water. Only a few families, living at the centre of the project, have received compensation. The other families, living more than 100 metres away, have been abandoned and continue to suffer the full impact of the power plant”.
Mba’s quest for the truth was further complicated when it appeared that the project’s financial backers were themselves sometimes lost in statistics. When in 2012, the World Bank was talking of 60 displaced families, the EIB cited about 680 while the study commissioned by the project promoter said there were 94. It was in these confusing circumstances that some residents said they received “envelopes” with money – but not enough to buy property elsewhere. The result was that they stayed where they were. On top of this, a substantial part of the affected population was left totally in the dark: local tribes (BaKola, BaGyeli, Baka). The electric transmission line cuts through part of their territory. “They did not receive any compensation and they were not consulted either”, insists Mba. It was clear the situation was problematic. In 2014, the World Bank acknowledged as much when it called for the establishment of a better grievance mechanism system for the indigenous communities in Kribi.
Meanwhile, in Kribi itself, the inhabitants complain of persistent power shortages. The electricity they expected from the project is diverted elsewhere in Cameroon and continues to elude them. As a new project to enlarge the Kribi power station is under consideration, some lenders have issued a kind of mea culpa: the noise may sometimes exceed the internationally-accepted limits, admits the World Bank. Wärtsilä took this opportunity to suggest the sale of silencers for the engines and the plant is trying to repair some of the homes which were damaged by vibrations. But there is no evidence that these measures will have a long-term effect, says the World Bank’s IFC.
“Since it is a state project, we have to accept it.”
In this development project, the EIB has seemed strangely absent. This is perhaps because most of the environment and social impact assessment and monitoring was in the hands of the IFC, operating from its Dakar office. Yet, the EIB insists it has been and still is a very active party in the project. Although the EIB is not part of the financing for the extension of the plant, its staff say it keeps visiting and assessing the Kribi 1 plant. Last year, the EIB opened a regional office in Yaoundé and its portfolio in Cameroon has now reached half a billion Euros. Meanwhile, the original promoter of the Kribi plant, AES Sonel, has left the running of the operation. The Kribi plant is now owned by Globeleq Africa, an entity owned by the Norwegian government’s development fund (Norfund) and the UK government’s financial development institution (the CDC group). It remains to be seen whether this will change anything for the inhabitants of Kribi.
There are signs that Globeleq Africa is not totally ignoring their situation: in a written reply to the issues raised by the inhabitants, Hans Francis Simb Nag, General Manager of Kribi Power Development Corporation (KPDC), said it was only after the plant became operational “that the vibration/noise issue was raised by the affected community members”.
“This was a new phenomenon, which had never been experienced in similar plants elsewhere in the world”, he said. KPDC commissioned an independent consultancy study which suggested either adding extra silencers or rehabilitating houses, all of which had been badly built. KPDC has opted for the second solution. “The vibration reduction program is ongoing around the power plant to ensure all affected community members are satisfied”, said Nag.
He acknowledged a water access problem, recalling that “over time it seems some of the wells began to malfunction due to lack of service” but stressed that “Kribi has implemented a maintenance programme to ensure the pumps remain in good working order”. Although people on the ground don’t seem to agree, KPDC describes its grievance mechanism as “functional and effective”.
Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Kribi remain unaware that international development money is financing the project and that the government of Cameroon has just a 44% stake in it. For them, the government is running it.
“Since it is a state project, we have to accept it. Still, they should take our opinion into account”, stresses one local. “When the project started, we were happy. We did not know that this project would hurt us”.