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02 Jun

China's backing for Ethiopia dam riles activists

Posted on CBS News by Celia Hatton.

It's a story that truly spans the globe: Activists from all over the world, including San Francisco, are trying to stop the construction of a dam in Ethiopia financed by a Chinese bank.

The Gibe 3 Dam is in the early phases of construction on Ethiopia's powerful Omo River, using $500 million dollars in equipment funded by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The hydroelectric dam, one of the largest construction projects in Ethiopia's history, would regulate the flow of water along the Omo River as it courses through Ethiopia and into Kenya's massive Lake Turkhana -- a freshwater oasis in the heart of the desert.

The project has been mired in controversy since it was just a blueprint. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank financed smaller hydroelectric projects on the Omo River, but dropped consideration of the Gibe 3 Dam after viewing the environmental impact report commissioned by the Ethiopian government. Activists say the World Bank and the African Development Bank lost interest in the project after considering its social and ecological implications on the region's fragile ecosystem stretching across Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The European Investment Bank also dropped consideration of the Gibe 3 Dam, although its reasons for doing so are unclear.

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Last modified on Thursday, 02 June 2011 13:53
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