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Big Development Projects Can Have Negative Effects On Nature And People

The Oasis Reporters


April 29, 2022


Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

There are some major development projects in progress on the continent. They include the Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya and irrigation and hydropower projects in Tanzania’s Rufiji Basin. Projects like these have potential to change people’s lives for good. But they also come with risks.



Some big projects damage environments by disturbing the habitats of wildlife like lions and elephants. In Kenya the rail project has displaced these animals so that they come into conflict with people. Construction can also bring in and spread invasive species. Some projects can lead to an increase in illegal logging, poaching and fires. Or they can have an impact on the ecosystems of rivers, coasts or oceans.


Negative impacts can extend to communities through loss of livelihoods or exposure to natural hazards like flooding or erosion. One major criticism is that big development projects benefit wealthy people but don’t help poorer communities. They can widen huge socioeconomic disparities.


It is also important to make sure that projects consider how infrastructure might operate under a changing climate in the future. There might be much higher temperatures, higher variability in rainfall, and higher frequency of floods and droughts.


Today’s episode of Pasha takes a look at major infrastructure projects on the continent from a variety of perspectives. Our guests are biodiversity researcher Tobias Nyumba, climate change modeller Jessica Thorn, political analyst Gediminas Lesutis and geographer Declan Conway.


Impalas walk near the elevated railway that allows movement of animals below the tracks at the construction site of Standard Gauge Railway in Nairobi National Park, Kenya, on November 21, 2018. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images.


“Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on licensed under CC0 1.


“Ambient guitar X1 – Loop mode” by frankum, found on Freesound licensed under Attribution License.


“Peaceful farm ambiences in spring” by be_a_hero_not_a_patriot found on Freesound licensed under Creative Commons 0 License.


“Flooding” by tarane468 found on Freesound licensed under Attribution 3.0 License.The Conversation


Ozayr Patel, Digital Editor, The Conversation


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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