Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chinese folly in Eithiopia/Kenya

China may be the next best imperial beast but it should be prepared to get bloody noses everywhere (not that it particularly cares) within the hard as well as soft boundaries.


Africa's fourth-largest lake could drop by 20 metres, causing an ecological and human disaster to rival the shrinking of the Aral Sea in central Asia, if Ethiopia goes ahead with massive irrigation projects linked to a giant dam, according to a university paper....Lake Turkana, located almost entirely in Kenya but fed by the river Omo, which rises in Ethiopia, will be severely impacted by the 243 metre-high Gibe III dam, which is due to be completed this year, says the study, published by the University of Oxford's African Studies Centre. It suggests water levels could drop by half, devastating the lake's fisheries and affecting the livelihoods of 170,000 agro-pastoralists.

.... protests outside the Chinese embassy in Nairobi, with campaigners calling on Beijing to halt funding for the scheme. Angelei says the Nairobi government is divided on the issue, but that at least protests are legal in Kenya, unlike in Ethiopia, and she urges donors to heed Human Rights Watch's concerns that "funds given to Ethiopia are not used to oppress its people"....Although progress on Gibe III has been considerably delayed by funding constraints, China signed a memorandum of understanding last year to finance construction on another mega dam on the Omo, Gibe IV, and plans further dams on the Blue Nile as well.

Ethiopia's plans for constructing dams on the Nile have traditionally met with robust opposition from Egypt, which has tried to maintain control of more than half of the Nile's flow through the colonial era Nile Waters Agreement, as well as through threats of armed force....Perhaps reflecting Cairo's recent decline as regional strongman, Burundi last week joined five other upstream nations in the new Nile Basin Initiative, creating the two-thirds majority of riverine states required to put the new treaty into force, and thereby effectively wresting control of the Nile waters from Egypt and Sudan. It threatens Egypt's right to 55.5bn cubic metres annually, conferred by the previous agreement.


regards