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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 06:37 AM
Original message
Giant Ethiopian dam to make 200,000 go hungry: NGO
Source: Reuters

Giant Ethiopian dam to make 200,000 go hungry: NGO
By Barry Malone
Reuters
Wednesday, March 24, 2010; 6:02 AM

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - More than 200,000 Ethiopians who rely on fishing and farming could become reliant on aid to survive if the government goes ahead with building Africa's biggest hydropower dam, an advocacy group said.

~snip~
Tribal rights group Survival International says the dam will cause displacement and upset fishing and farming. Among tribes that will be affected are the Kwegu and the Hamar.

"These tribes are self-sufficient but this dam will ruin their economies," a Survival International representative, who did not wish to be named, said. "It will end the annual flooding some rely on to make the land they farm fertile, and for tribes who rely on fishing, it will deplete stocks. They will need aid."

Ethiopia is negotiating funding for the dam, which began construction in 2006, with the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Italian government. "No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project," Survival International director, Stephen Corry, said in a statement.



Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 06:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. this is a tough one
you have to balance the needs of the indigenous peoples and the need for an exceedingly poor nation to build up it's infrastructure to grow and benefit many.

not sure how to respond to this.
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Cal Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. No it's not a tough one at all
The World Bank, IMF, and other global financial institutions have been doing this sort of thing for ages. This sort of 'development' isn't to improve the lot of the local people, it's to increase the ability of multinationals to set up shop and make shitloads of profits while ruining the locals' ability to have a livelihood in the way they see fit. And the US and other western gov'ts do whatever they can to ensure that the leaders in such countries are amenable to this sort of thing.

There is no balance here. Our romanticized notion that we wise western powers need to step in to help the poor people of these places improve their lives has got to end.

Does the country get 'richer'? Sure, on paper. But the lives of the people get worse, the people get poorer, it happens over and over again.

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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Well said! (n/t)
:applause:
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Lance_Boyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. So nobody in Ethiopia wants any of the power the dam would generate?
The whole thing was dreamed up by savvy white folks in suits seeking to pull one over on the natives?

:eyes:

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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I'm sure you could buy a lot of solar panels for the price of a new dam.
and you wouldn't need to build grid.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Hydro is 5-11 c/kwh
Solar is 15-30 c/kwh.

Solar is three times more.
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Cal Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Despite your off-the-wall extrapolation of my comments and
Edited on Wed Mar-24-10 03:45 PM by Cal Carpenter
your strawman questions, I'll take the time to provide some more info for anyone else who may be reading this thread. If I had more time I'd dig deeper and try to provide a more comprehensive background but here's the short version.

Quite frankly, the wealthiest Ethiopians may think this is a great idea. But no, for the average Ethiopian? Come on, the World Bank and other major international monetary institutions haven't suddenly changed their reason for being. These institutions are quite clear - they are 'developing emerging markets to increase productivity'. Productivity, in economic terms, doesn't mean what we may think. It's not about producing more useful goods, or more food for the people of the country. No, in economic terms productivity means PROFIT-making. This is a basic economic definition in capitalist economics. So while we can translate it to mean all these good things, there is no intention of making life better for the Ethiopians. The intention of these institutions is to take what they can of value and saddle the country in debt so it serves the economic purpose of global capitalists. What I am saying here shouldn't come off as controversial - I'm sure Paul Wolfowitz would even agree.

A little background on some recent history from a source providing a different point of view - Ethiopians themselves. The first couple links are actually press releases from the World Bank and the comments below the articles are particularly enlightening:

World Bank gives $65 million more blood money to Ethiopia
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10835

World Bank approved $80 million for the Meles dictatorship
EDITOR'S NOTE: World Bank, the best friend of dictators and the primary source of Africa's misery, approves more money to be given to the terrorist regime in Ethiopia led by tribal dictator Meles Zenawi. If and when a government that stands for the interest of Ethiopians comes to power, one of the first things it needs to do is to kick out the World Bank and IMF out of the country.
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/2624

Here's a decent (but older) article that should provide a sense of what the World Bank is doing in Ethiopia in general:


Sowing the Seeds of Famine in Ethiopia

The "economic therapy" imposed under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction is in large part responsible for triggering famine and social devastation in Ethiopia and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, wreaking the peasant economy and impoverishing millions of people.

With the complicity of branches of the US government, it has also opened the door for the appropriation of traditional seeds and landraces by US biotech corporations, which behind the scenes have been peddling the adoption of their own genetically modified seeds under the disguise of emergency aid and famine relief.

Moreover, under WTO rules, the agri-biotech conglomerates can manipulate market forces to their advantage as well as exact royalties from farmers. The WTO provides legitimacy to the food giants to dismantle State programmes including emergency grain stocks, seed banks, extension services and agricultural credit, etc.), plunder peasant economies and trigger the outbreak of periodic famines.

more...
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3...

There's tons more on the web. Anyone who is gonna defend the World Bank and IMF type 'development' projects ought to be honest about what they are supporting: the ability of multinationals to make billions of dollars and leave a country's people in a permanent state of economic crisis through debt.




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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. Back in the day in the US
it was considered unacceptable for little kids to be running around barefoot and getting ringworm, so we got rural electrification.

Maybe the point of the dam is so that these people's grandkids don't have to run around barefoot and get ringworm?
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Cal Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Totally different thng going on here
Edited on Wed Mar-24-10 06:08 PM by Cal Carpenter
That electrification was done by the federal gov't, right? Or more local than that? It didn't result in immediate, major changes to the environment and other conditions immediately resulting in hundreds of thousands being displaced, did it?

It certainly wasn't done by the most powerful financial institutions in the world. These banks we're talking about, these aren't banks that give loans to people, or to companies. These are banks that provide immense loans to entire nations with an incredible number of strings attached and generations of debt. The people of Ethiopia (insert dozens of other country names here) aren't asking for that kind of loan, no. Many of these countries are run by dictators or corrupt RW governments. Many of those governments are only in power because western powers backed them through coups, rigged elections, suppressing the population with military or private contractor's might. Where do you think DynCorp and Bechtel and Blackwater work (work meaning kill, rape, injure, imprison)? Who pays them to do so?

What we call 'spreading democracy' and 'development' is really not what we think it is. And it's not about political parties, or the US in particular. Most of the western world supports this stuff politically, economically, militarily.. Their/Our own economies and standards of living ultimately depend on it, no matter how removed we may feel we are.

So many people claim to know that what we hear and see is propaganda, but they refuse to look at how it effects their thinking and worldview. Knowing that it is propaganda is simply not enough. We have to forget much of what we think we know. These incredibly powerful people and institutions and corporations have shaped the worldview we see here. They have shaped the definitions of abstract concepts, words like development and freedom and democracy, to mean something totally different.

So back to the point, XemaSab - sure it'll be great if those grandkids don't have to 'go barefoot and get ringworm'. But in countries where the World Bank etc operate the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Desperately poorer. Those grandkids are not only going to keep getting ringworm, they are going to live in a nation that is saddled by enormous, insurmountable debt, and their livelihoods will rely completely on the global economic system that essentially owns them.

Btw, I don't quite understand your riddle about bare feet and electrification, but I think I addressed your point.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Actually the dams in Northern California
totally trashed the local environment and flooded out whole towns, but they also enabled development in a way that had not been possible before.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #3
20. +10000 many foreign nations have taken over millions of acres for their own use!
driving locals off their lands and destroying native habitat
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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. It's not really all that tough...
In theory in sounds fine, but the reality is that the project's benefits will have been overstated by Bechtel, or whoever did them. Ethiopia won't pay for the dam, the money will be transferred straight from the world bank, imf, etc into the accounts of bechtel. But, Ethiopia will have to pay interest on it.

Yes, Ethiopia will have the dam, but it won't be as good as promised. The government officials will steal a large part of the revenue, and what is remaining will just barely be enough to pay interest on the project, so there will be little to no aid to the displaced.

One day revenue will drop for man-made or natural reasons, and then the IMF will have the country by the balls.
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Cal Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Very importnat points
After my quick post above I realized I should have mentioned the way the IMF/World Bank debts continue to haunt a country and add all sorts of 'requirements' about how their economy works. Thanks for bringing this aspect to the thread.

It seems a lot of people are of the mind that certain countries need 'us' to help 'them' out of terrible poverty, but the reality is that after this sort of development, the poor tend to keep getting poorer, and lose their ability to fend for themselves by major (pro-corporate) restructuring of their economies.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Worse, the damn will power resource extraction industries that don't benefit the people either.
It's a rotten business. The Ethiopian people get a disruptive dam they can't afford, loans they can't repay, and it all powers dirty resource extraction and export industries, resources that are used in products most Ethiopians can't afford to import.

Here in the U.S. we get cheap Chinese products for our Wal-Marts and the Ethiopian people get their environment trashed. Such a deal.
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The Hope Mobile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
2. Who is building this dam?
I was just reading about a dam built in Haiti by KBR which ruined the lives of many thousands of Haitians. (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
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comtec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
6. what about making the new lake into a fishery
a way to preserve water...

I know it's fashionable to attack the IMF, and I don't necessarily disagree with the notations made up-thread.

But can't you see a positive thing to come out of this?
And being a hydro generation device, doesn't that means the water has to pass through.
It should mean that water (i know, VASTLY too little) will still be moving down stream for crops?
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
7. Ethiopia is a perennially famine-ravaged country
If the dam will provide a consistent supply of water for irrigation during drought years, then its construction isn't automatically a terrible thing.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
19. plenty of H2O there for the foreign nations raking in its farmland for their own use!
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Inevitable
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Synicus Maximus Donating Member (828 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 10:08 PM
Response to Original message
18. What a bad idea. We should leave the local to keep their
subsistence economy. There is no good reason to try to improve their economy. Hell someone may make a profit.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. HUGE foreign land grab in Ethiopia:
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