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Ethiopia: Human rights concerns related to govt.s' Kuraz sugar project, incl. displacement & food insecurity

Author: Benedikt Kamski, Ethiopia Insight (UK), Published on: 2 August 2019

"Omo investors won’t scrub away Kuraz’s sugary stain"

hen three leaders came to cut the ribbon of the Omo-Kuraz III sugar factory in October 2018, built using $290 million of credit from China Development Bank, all eyes were on southern Ethiopia...[it] was an important step for Kuraz Sugar Development Project, an unprecedented mega-scheme of four estates in Ethiopia’s southwestern lowlands whose progress has been stuttering...

Human rights-focused critics of the Omo-Gibe basin development have described the effects of the upstream Gibe III hydropower reservoir and land-clearing for Kuraz in the Omo’s lower catchment as a tragedy that has caused hunger and conflict. The latest critical report was from US-based Oakland Institute, a vocal critic of Ethiopia’s river basin developments. Corroborating the Californian think tank, a recent academic studyfound the environmental and human costs of the Omo-Gibe schemes outweighed gains, yet the government still insists the opposite...

The delay in compensating locals for the loss of fertile plots created by receding floodwater and for grazing land lost to sugarcane is problematic for the government in at least two ways. First, it illustrates how the capital-intensive transformation of the region failed to bear fruit for its indigenous communities. Second, it created new conflict dynamics. There have been attacks on vehicles and workers as retaliation for killed livestock and human victims along the newly constructed road linking Jinka and Salamago. Such incidents affect the estate economy and create risks for farmworkers and drivers. This will be of concern when it comes to potential privatization and the due diligence assessments of interested investors.

Read the full post here