Statement by the World Bank Group Following an Advert by China Water and Electric Corporation on Isimba Dam in Uganda

March 21, 2016

The China Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), EPC Contractor for the Isimba Hyropower Project in Uganda, which the World Bank is not financing, ran a paid advertisement in The Daily Monitor, a Ugandan daily, on Friday, March 18, 2016, under the headline, “Isimba HPP Site Visited by the World Bank Group.”

We do not know what the intentions of the company were, and the World Bank was not consulted about the advertisement. Further, the advertisement is misleading in its title because it talks not only about a short visit by a World Bank mission to the Isimba Dam site but includes several other issues and pictures completely unrelated to the World Bank visit.

Given the misrepresentation of the World Bank Group and appearance of an endorsement of a project we are not financing, we wish to provide the following facts:

A World Bank mission visited Uganda from March 7-11, 2016, to discuss impacts of the Isimba hydropower project (IHPP) on the Kalagala Offset Area (KOA), defined under the Indemnity Agreement between the Government of Uganda and the World Bank for the Private Power Generation (Bujagali) Project.

The mission included high level discussions with the Government of Uganda as well as site visits to the Isimba Dam site and the Kalagala Offset Area including Kalagala Falls and the surrounding Mabira Central Forest Reserve.  

The World Bank is not financing Isimba Dam and was not carrying out an audit of its performance standards, as implied by the advertisement. The Bank’s visit to the Isimba site was to gain a better understanding of how the project is progressing relative to the impact on the Kalagala Offset Area. The World Bank team cannot therefore have ascertained the management standards of the contractor.

The World Bank remains deeply concerned about the potential impact of the Isimba Hydropower Project on the Kalagala Falls Site, and we have shared our concern with the Government of Uganda on a number of occasions. 

The Government has assured the Bank that it will not take action that would have an impact on the Kalagala Falls Site until it has reached agreement with the World Bank to ensure that the agreed objectives of the Indemnity Agreement are complied with. The World Bank mission to Uganda reaffirmed the Government’s position. 

The full impacts of the Isimba Dam on the Kalagala Offset Area will be determined after the completion of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Addendum expected before the end of 2016. 

Media Contacts
In Washington
Steven Shalita