The African Development Bank (AfDB) has released a statement that denies its alleged commitment to finance the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). This comes after more than 100 civil society organizations (CSOs) and environmental NGOs wrote a joint letter asking the institution to withdraw from the project due to its potential social and environmental damage.
On the statement, the pan-African financial institution says that the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has not provided financing to any private sector company for upstream oil or gas pipeline projects in East Africa and that no commitment has been made to any party to fund the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project.
The institution has however emphasized on its commitment to keep on crafting policies and delivering investments that promote sustainable development practices on the African continent, including climate adaptation and resilience.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project involves the governments of Uganda and Tanzania as the developer and Stanbic of Uganda and Sumitomo Mitsui of Japan as the financial advisers. It entails the construction of a 1,443 km pipeline that will be used to transport about 10.9 million tons of crude oil per year from Lake Albert in Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania for export to international markets. It is expected to be the longest heated pipeline in the world.
The project has however faced serious condemnation especially in Uganda. In the beginning of this year the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (Afiego) and the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CSCO) called upon Uganda’s National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) and the Ugandan citizens to reject the pipeline’s environmental and social impact report, published by the government of the East African country.
The risk of an oil spill into Lake Victoria according to the above mentioned organizations would have disastrous consequences for millions of people living in about eight countries and who depend on the two lakes and their watersheds for drinking water and food production through agriculture and fishing.