- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2001

The sub-Saharan nation of Chad, under attack from human rights and environmental groups that seek to block funding for an oil pipeline to the Atlantic, is fighting back.
A Chadian delegation was in the United States recently to argue that their thinly populated and impoverished state has passed muster both on human rights and on environmental safeguards.
"We agreed to the strictest conditions to receive international funding [for the pipeline] of any nation ever, as far as I know," Moustapha Ali Alife, Chad's communications and human rights counselor told The Washington Times.
Last month, the World Bank cleared the first payment of $100 million for the pipeline, estimated to cost a total of $3.7 billion.
Under pressure from environmentalists and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the bank stipulated that 80 percent of the government's share of the revenue, expected to be as much as $ 1.7 billion for Chad and $500 million for Cameroon over a 28-year operating period, must be spent on improving health services, education, agriculture, infrastructure and rural development.
The International Finance Corp. (IFC), an affiliate of the World Bank which actually approved the loan for the pipeline, said it would also arrange an additional $100 million in syndicated loans from commercial banks.
"The project represents a pioneering effort by the World Bank group to create an unprecedented framework to transform oil wealth into direct benefits for the poor, the vulnerable and the environment," said the IFC in a statement.
In addition, the U.S. Export-Import (Exim) Bank has budgeted approximately $130 million for the project. And a further $400 million is being arranged by Exim and France's export credit agency.
Chad is a former French colony.
Last month, European parliamentarians warned they may seek a freeze on both European Union aid to Chad and loans to the pipeline project.
"One year after the project was approved, numerous commitments to implement the project in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner have already been blatantly violated," say representatives of the Chadian League of Human Rights.
Along with the environmental group Friends of the Earth International, they are calling for the project to be suspended until "guarantees are provided that all environmental, social and political commitments are being met."
The 650-mile-long pipeline is a joint venture between the two governments, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Malaysia's state oil company, Petronas. It is due to be completed by 2003.
The fields in Chad's southern Doba Basin will produce an estimated 225,000 barrels per day, which will be transported through neighboring Cameroon to an offshore facility in the Atlantic for export.

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