Un autre jour dans la vie du pipeline

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Un autre jour dans la vie du pipeline Tchad-Cameroun

En l’an 2000 Grand Pétrole, la Banque Mondiale, et deux dictateurs corrompus se sont mis ensembles pour lancer le projet d’oléoduc pétrolier et de pipeline Tchad-Cameroun. Les années passant, l’attention des média autour de ce projet a fortement décru, alors que les impacts du pipeline s’aggravent de jour en jour.

Brendan Schwartz etValéry Nodem depuis le Tchad et le Cameroun.

Connaissez-vous le Tchad?

Si vous avez entendu parler du Tchad, vous n’avez probablement rien entendu de bon sur ce pays. Le fait qu’il soit en guerre continue depuis l’indépendance, et son engagement d ans le conflit du Darfour n’a apporté au Tchad qu’une mauvaise presse. Un auteur a parlé de “tragédie négligée d’une nation.” Le Tchad est en réalitéun pays d’une remarquable beauté, et ses populations sont aussi is in fact a strikingly beautiful country and its people are as vibrant and diverse as any. But without a doubt, there is great human suffering. And as many people have noted, the discovery of black gold isn’t helping.

The Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline Project, although relatively little-known to the general public, was for a timethe source of fierce debate and high rhetoric in international development circles. The World Bank-financed project in the heart of war-torn Central Africa pumps 170,000 barrels/day of crude from Chad’s Doba basin to Cameroon’s Atlantic port city of Kribi, 1,080 kilometers away. Led by such corporations as Exxon and Chevron, the pipeline received plaudits from the World Bank as “an unprecedentedframework to transform oil wealth into direct benefits for the poor, the vulnerable and the environment.” Nine years after the World Bank agreed to finance the pipeline, six years after oil went online, and just one year after the World Bank quit the project, Chad-Cameroon is slowly fading from the development spotlight. The World Bank quietly released their own evaluation of the project last weekadmitting that the project failed to achieve its two main goals of reducing poverty and improving governance. One hopes this is not the World Bank’s final evaluation of the project since oil is scheduled to flow for another twenty years and the worst of the project’s impacts are just beginning to be felt. This is an update from the field.

National Mourning and Broken Promises

For ChadianPresident Idriss Deby, oil revenues are a means to prolong abusive and undemocratic rule. He changed the constitution to become president for life, used over 30% of Chad’s oil revenues on war, and used money destined for development in “priority sectors” to grant opaque, no-bid public contracts to god knows whom—all things he promised not to do. It is little wonder that Chadian civil societydeclared the pipeline’s inauguration a day of national mourning. The World Bank’s public sector lending arms (the IDA and IBRD) announced their withdrawal from the project in 2008 stating “Chad failed to comply with key requirements” of their participation, though the World Bank’s private sector lending arm (the IFC) had no problem staying on board to reap the benefits of its $200 million commercialloan. Many promises were also made to people living in the oil-producing zone in the southwest of Chad. Villagers were promised fair compensation for the loss of land expropriated by Exxon, employment with the oil companies for the life of the project, and 5% of oil revenues to be invested in their villages. According to local residents, these promises were empty.

The Displaced

A woman inthe Bero village of the oil producing zone explained that Exxon had displaced her whole family and promised to build them new houses equipped with furniture and find them new land. Although new houses were built, the construction was so shoddy that Exxon was forced to return just two years later and rebuild them to avoid a major PR embarrassment. There is no furniture to be found. In...