World Bank Statement on EDF's Withdrawal from Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project

August 12, 2003

Washington, DC, August 12, 2003 - In response to Electricite de France's (EDF's) withdrawal from the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) project, the World Bank has issued the following statement:

"The World Bank has been informed of EDF's decision to withdraw from theNam Theun 2 hydropower project in Lao PDR.

"The Bank is considering the implications this development has for NT2 and related work in Lao PDR. We understand that the partners in the Nam Theun 2 Power Company Limited (NTPC) are reviewing the technical, financial and management arrangements for the project including the introduction of a new lead investor and technical partner. We are continuing to carry out the due diligence work that has been underway and will proceed with ongoing analysis, and visits as scheduled.

"Nam Theun 2 has always been a highly complex and challenging project. The World Bank's interest in NT2 has been, and continues to be, based on the project's potential, if properly prepared and managed, to benefit the Lao people.

"The World Bank has been studying all aspects of Nam Theun 2, including its environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Prior to EDF's announcement, the World Bank had not yet decided whether to provide financial backing to the project. The Decision Framework, articulated by the World Bank and agreed to by the Government of Lao PDR in 2001 continues to serve as the basis on which the Bank would decide whether or not to take this project to its Board of Executive Directors for consideration.

"The World Bank remains committed to do all we can to assist Lao PDR, including in the areas of social, human, and environmental development, as well as in broader areas of policy advice and support, to help the country's development and reduce poverty."