WASHINGTON, September 26, 2013—Contrary to several media and civil society reports, the July 16, 2013 eviction of Maasai families from land in Ng’ati Farm is not linked to the World Bank-financed Kenya Electricity Expansion Project (KEEP) which supports the Kenyan power utility, KenGen, in developing geothermal power on land near the scene of the recent evictions.
Among the people evicted were a small number of Maasai families which had been scheduled for an agreed future relocation, under the geothermal project supported by KEEP. This was because they are living in the vicinity of the project and could potentially be affected by noise or other pollution from the geothermal operation.
In this context, the Bank welcomes the Kenyan Government’s rapid convening of a special committee to investigate these events. We are discussing with the Government how it intends to address the situation, and provide appropriate assurances to those to be resettled under the KEEP project in line with the Bank’s social safeguard policies.
The World Bank is committed to fulfilling its operational safeguards policy which requires that any resettlement in a Bank-financed project “… improve, or at least restore” the living standards of people affected by its projects and programs.
As one of the country’s leading development partners, the World Bank is working closely with Kenya to help generate significantly more electricity in order to achieve higher economic growth, better health and education, and to create more jobs, and produce better development prospects for all Kenyans.