The World Bank is providing $840 million in investment lending to this $2.2 billion natural gas-fired power plant. The World Bank’s funding for the Giza North Power Project also funds an associated pipeline to carry the natural gas to fuel the plant, as well as an electrical transmission line to carry the electricity produced to the national grid.
The project is located approximately 30 km to the northwest of Cairo, and is situated on 72 feddans (approximately equal to 72 acres) of fertile agricultural land in the Nile Delta, in water-scarce Egypt where less than 4% of land is arable. As a result of dramatic population growth in Egypt over the last three decades, demand for energy has increased and Egypt has experienced energy shortages. The World Bank has responded to the Government of Egypt’s requests to build several huge power plants, including the Giza North Power Plant, as a result of this energy crisis. However, these plants have not benefited from a clear and transparent energy strategy on the part of Egypt’s government, which is apparent in the location of the Giza North Power Plant project on scarce agricultural land, along the Nile where population density is already a concern. Conversion of agricultural land for the purpose of infrastructure development and continued over-development along the Nile are short-sighted answers to an energy problem that affects millions of Egyptians.
During the construction of the Giza North Power Plant in 2012, local communities presented various concerns including issues related to water and land rights, loss of livelihood, inappropriate compensation, and coercion to the implementing company and to the World Bank project management, without finding a solution. In February, 2013, 6 Egyptian civil society organizations, two regional civil society networks, and 35 affected community members raised their concerns to the Inspection Panel, which is the World Bank’s independent accountability mechanism. The Inspection Panel completed an eligibility visit and report, which acknowledged that the project had resulted in harms to the community.
Following this meeting and subsequent communication with the World Bank office in Cairo, complainants were granted access to a grievance mechanism specific to this project. Through this grievance mechanism and mediation by the World Bank, farmers and community members received compensation for the harms they faced and nearly all complaints have been satisfied at this point. BIC condensed case study research and materials developed by two Egyptian partner organizations with support from BIC on the Giza North power plant project into a two-page briefer.