African Development Bank

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a public development bank that lends money to African governments and private companies investing in Africa. While the AfDB is a relatively small player compared to the World Bank, its lack of citizen participation and poor system of safeguards has led to projects and policies that harm communities and the environment, waste public funds, or serve the interests of political and economic elites rather than those of the poor. It publicly supported the conclusions of the World Commission on Dams when the WCD report came out in 2000, but has since done little to incorporate WCD guidelines into its dam projects. 

Often working closely with the World Bank and other lenders, the AfDB has been involved in destructive dam projects such as Bujagali in Uganda, Inga in the DRC, Lesotho Highlands Water Project, and a power line that supports the destructive Gibe 3 in Ethiopia. Over the coming years, the AfDB hopes to scale-up its support for large infrastructure projects like big dams and regional transmission links. These trends are cause for concern, especially considering the AfDB’s lack of transparency and capacity to manage and supervise environmentally and socially projects. At the same time, the AfDB is supporting utility-scale renewable energy projects in South Africa, Kenya and elsewhere. 

  • Multilateral Development Banks’ Project Pipelines: A quarterly report on planned dams to watch out for at the the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the World Bank.
  • Learn more about the AfDB’s Independent Review Mechanism, which investigates complaints about Bank projects