Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 20:41:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: Mark Graffis <email@example.com>
Subject: Top World Bank team in Cameroon for pipeline talks
Top World Bank team in Cameroon for pipeline talks
Reuters News Service, 28 October 1999
CAMEROON -- YAOUNDE - A high-level World Bank delegation led by vice-president Shengman Zhang arrived in Yaounde at the start of a three-day visit to Cameroon and Chad, state radio reported yesterday.
Zhang was scheduled to hold talks with the Cameroonian authorities on a planned oil pipeline between Chad and the Cameroonian coast, as well as the third year of Cameroon's structural adjustment programme.
He is also due to meet representatives of environmental and non-governmental organisations that oppose the pipeline.
Poverty-stricken, landlocked Chad has discovered significant reserves of oil that oil companies and aid agencies want to exploit under a $3.5 billion investment plan.
However, ecologists argue that a 1,050 km (650-mile) pipeline needed to get the oil to an export terminal in Kribi, Cameroon, could damage rain forests and rivers.
The World Bank, whose $190 million funding is crucial to the project, has held back so that additional environmental studies could be undertaken.
At the end of September World Bank President James Wolfensohn dismissed the "hysteria" that had built up about the pipeline and said he did not believe there would be catastropic environmental effects.
The World Bank delegation is due to leave for Chad today.