The Chad-Cameroon petroleum project was approved by the World Bank in June 2000 after more than three years of intense discussions between oil multinationals, the Bank, Bank member governments and NGOs from the South and the North. In response to the grievances received, the World Bank proposed a framework to impose social and environmental rules on the multinationals, and build the capacity of Cameroonian and Chadian governments to enable them to manage project-related opportunities and risks. The failure to respect promises in the construction phase is a cause for concern for the project's future. There are already talks of expanding the oil exploitation zone to the east of Chad, north of the Central African Republic and north of Cameroon. As the World Bank will have no means to exert pressure on the consortium it is hard to think that the operations will respect people and nature more than in the past three years. The major merit of the project is to have confirmed that under authoritarian regimes there is a fundamental incompatibility between poverty alleviation objectives and oil exploitation activities.
Jun 05, 2003