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Management of social impacts for construction of the hydroelectric power plant Nachtigal in Cameroon

The Project of the Nachtigal hydroelectric power plant with 420 MW capacity on the Sanaga River is developed by a consortium consisting of the State of Cameroon, Electricité de France (EDF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Rio Tinto Alcan, as part of a joint development agreement signed in November 2013.

Egis team (Egis Cameroon and consulting department of Egis International), specialising in the management of social impacts as part of major infrastructure developments, has accompanied the Nachtigal Project in the prevention and management of population migrations associated with the project.

The Nachtigal Project has mandated Egis to identify mitigation measures to be considered for limiting the potential risks of spontaneous influx of population towards the project area. With this approach, the Nachtigal Project adopts a good practice of minimising social risks in the early phase of the project development.

Among the main pull factors of this major industrial development taking place in a predominantly rural area are the possibilities of direct and indirect employment, as well as potential business opportunities for suppliers of goods and services. These aspects are likely to result in significant in-migration flows.

 

An Influx Management Plan elaborated in consultation with local authorities and affected population

In this context, Egis has worked closely with the Nachtigal Project team to develop an Influx Management Plan aiming to address the risk of potential in-migration flows to the Project’s key zones (construction site, workers’ camp, recruitment points, etc.). Spontaneous and unregulated influx of population is likely to lead to considerable negative impacts in terms of health, security and social equilibrium of the local communities, and to cause a disproportionate load on the existing public infrastructure that is already insufficient. The Plan therefore serves as an instrument of social risk management.

The Plan, drawn up in close consultation with the local authorities and the affected communities, has proposed a practical set of mechanisms for the early identification and management of spontaneous in-migration, along with specific measures to avoid or minimise speculative inflows to the Project area and to mitigate the associated negative impacts (impacts on the host population, natural resources, infrastructure in the neighbouring communities, etc.).

Enhancement measures have also been considered to contribute to the local development by prioritising the recruitment of local labour, promoting the involvement of local providers in the Project’s supply chain, as well as through improving basic infrastructure in the surrounding communities.