The Nile, the Congo, the Zambezi and countless more rivers across Africa provide for the people of our land. But our rivers and our people are under threat from large dams. Dams threaten our food, water, and our livelihoods. Dams threaten our economies and our sustainable development. Competing demands for water and energy are sharpening divisions between the rich and the poor. If this phenomenon is left unresolved, it could lead to social conflicts and political instability. Meeting the energy and water challenges for Africa’s growing population require concerted efforts of all actors and stakeholders of society: governments, the private sector and communities. New alliances must be forged to harness the diverse resources of civil society.
Formed in 2003, the African Rivers Network is comprised of dam affected communities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on water and energy issues from over 20 African countries, with a shared aim of working towards social justice in the arena of large dams and their alternatives, and through working together to influence decision-making, amplifying community voices and rights. It comes at a time when Africa is witnessing an unprecedented pace of proposals for large dams. Increasing demand for dams pose enormous pressure on Africa’s natural resources, water in particular. ARN is committed to promoting dialogue and people-centred decision-making on dams and other large infrastructure development in Africa. Human rights, community acceptance of decisions, and reparations for outstanding social injustices should be the cornerstone for any future dam development in Africa.