NAIROBI, Kenya and Ethiopia have agreed to hold regular consultations on projects which may affect the livelihoods of people in the two countries.
This follows the construction of Ethiopia’s Gibe 3 hydro-electric dam, which has resulted in water levels in Lake Turkana being lowered, affecting fishing activities for Kenyans at the lake, which lies largely in northern Kenya but whose northern tip lies in neighbouring Ethiopia.
The two countries have signed a memorandum of understand (MoU) on cross-border integrated development which requires that any future development project should factor in adverse effects on communities living near the common border.
Since the 1,870-megawatt Gibe III Dam started operations last year, there have been complaints from different quarters, especially Kenyan communities living around Lake Turkana, about the subsiding water levels.
The dam was constructed along the River Omo, which is the key source of water to Lake Turkana, the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake. Records show that the lake’s water levels have subsided by nearly 1.5 metres in the last 18 months since the operationalization of the Gibe III Dam.
However, Ethiopia is adamant that the dam has not affected Lake Turkana’s water levels since there is no irrigation taking place.
Kenyan Treasury Cabinet Secretary (Finance Minister) Henry Rotich says frameworks will be created to ensure that such future projects do not disadvantage communities living along the Kenya-Ethiopia border and that plans are underway to seek efficient ways to mitigate effects of the Gibe Dam on communities which rely on Lake Turkana.
Rotich says improved infrastructure along the Kenya-Ethiopia border will ease the hostility between the communities which has derailed development in the area.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK