World Bank Fails to Deliver on Core Objectives of the Chad-Cameroon Oil and Pipeline Project

April 23, 2007

Korinna Horta, Environmental Defense,, (001)202.572.3325
Samuel Nguiffo, Center for Environment and Development, Cameroon (011)237.22 95 24
Delphine Djiraibe, Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, Chad, (011)235.299509

(Washington, DC – April 23, 2007)  In the wake of the recent Wolfowitz saga at the World Bank, scientists and environmentalists recently released a “Project Non-Completion Report” that highlights substantial flaws in the World Bank’s “Project Implementation Completion Report” (ICR) for the Chad-Cameroon Oil and Pipeline Project. The report also calls for the World Bank to accept responsibility for their role in the project and includes recommendations to immediately address the outstanding environmental, livelihood and compensation problems resulting from the project.

“The World Bank should be held accountable and must properly address the failure to deliver poverty reduction and protection of indigenous peoples and the environment in the Chad-Cameroon project,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu. “The World Bank’s ‘Decade for Africa’ should not become a mockery.”

The Chad-Cameroon Oil and Pipeline Project was officially inaugurated in 2003, and at an estimated cost of US $4.2 billion represents the single largest on-shore investment in Africa today. Recognizing that oil, gas and mining projects have a legacy of impoverishment, human rights abuses, poisoned landscapes and often violent conflict, the ExxonMobil-led Consortium behind the project made World Bank participation a pre-condition for the project. However, the project has fallen far short of the Bank’s original vision of creating an “unprecedented framework to transform oil wealth into direct benefits of the poor.” In fact, there is evidence (some reflected in World Bank statements and official reports) that the project has increased poverty and degraded the environment, and that the struggle over the control of oil revenues has aggravated security problems in the country, especially in the region bordering on Sudan’s Darfur region.