Bank implicated in Kenya Maasai eviction

31 March 2015

The World Bank has been accused of breaching its own safeguards through its investment in a Kenya electricity expansion project. The $1.39 billion project comprises a $330 million Bank contribution and includes the development of a geothermal power plant, Olkaria IV, which led to the relocation of Maasai communities. This includes the construction of Olkaria IV, a geothermal power plant aiming to deliver 280 MW to the Kenyan grid, implemented by Kenya’s state owned power producer KenGen.

Maurice Ouma Odhiambo, of Kenyan based NGO Jamaa Resource Initiatives, said that the Bank has failed to “closely monitor the resettlement process for the project”. In October 2014 Maasai leaders submitted a confidential request to the Bank’s accountability mechanism, the Inspection Panel (IP), alleging that the resettlement led to “impoverishment, intra-community disputes, and health concerns”. In a February statement, the Bank management disputed the accusations made in the case submitted to the IP stating that the “adverse impacts raised in the request are resulting from the project”. However the IP found that “the issues of harm raised … [were] plausibly linked to project activities” and noted “potential non-compliance by the Bank with applicable operational policies”. The IP will carry out an investigation, with a report expected after August.