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Kajbar Dam hydropower scheme, Sudan


It s estimated that the 110 square kilometer Kajbar Dam on the Nile River will flood 90 villages, displace 10,000 people, and destroy 500 archeological sites. After plans for the dam were announced, peaceful protests by the Nubian population in the area in 2007 were cracked down on by security forces. Four people were killed and at least 20 injured in action condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan. In 2010, the Sudanese government awarded a $705 million, five-year contract to build the Kajbar Dam to the Chinese company Sinohydro, the worlds largest hydropower contractor [1]. Finance still has to be sought, possibly from Chinas Exim Bank. There has been a lack of consultation around the project and local communities say they have never seen the EIA done for the project. The Nubian population fear that construction will lead to displacement and extinction of their language and culture as they could be relocated hundreds of kilometers away from their main source of livelihood - and see the project as a form of ethnic cleansing [2,3]. It follows decades of displacement caused first by the Aswan Dam and more recently the Merowe Dam. The planned Kajbar dam follows the completion of the $2billion Merowe Dam on the Nile and is part of plans for two further dams.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kajbar Dam hydropower scheme, Sudan
State or province:Nubian Mahas
Location of conflict:Kajbar
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Kajbar Dam has a planned 360 megawatt hydropower capacity.

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Project area:11000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project705000000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2005
Company names or state enterprises:Kajbar Electricity Co from Sudan
Harbin Power Engineering Company from China
Sinohydro Corporation Limited (Sinohydro) from China
Relevant government actors:Dam Implementation Unit, Sudanese government, National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, Sudanese Ministry of Electricity, Sudanese National Council for Water Resources
International and Finance InstitutionsExport-Import Bank of Sudan from Sudan
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Anti Dal-Kajbar Dams Committee, International Rivers
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:Sudan has solar energy potential and wind energy potential which could present alternatives to the problems created by Kajbar and other dams, but these have not been considered.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite protests, in 2011 the Government of Sudan awarded the contract for the building of the dam and seems intent on going ahead.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Water Resources Act (1995)

National Water Policy of Sudan (2007)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] International Rivers Network. Kajbar Dam, Sudan briefing. Available at Accessed 31 December 2012.
[click to view]

[2] The Rescue Nubia and Kajbar Dam Resistance Committee, US chapter (2007). Appeal to rescue Nubia and to stop building the Kajbar dam. Available at: Accessed 1 January 2013.
[click to view]

[3] Committee of the Anti Dal-Kajbar dams (2011).

Accessed 1 January 2013.

Letter to Sino-Hydro Company, China. Available at:
[click to view]

Kavilu, Shadrack (2011). Sudans Indigenous Nubian People Face Displacement as New Dam Threatens Their Livelihoods. Available at: Accessed 1 January 2013.
[click to view]

International Rivers
[click to view]

Lawler, Andrew (2012). Dams Along Sudanese Nile

Bosshard, Peter (2011) New Chinese Dam Project Fuels Ethnic Conflict in Sudan. Available at:
[click to view]

Reliefweb (2007). UN expert urges Sudan to respect human rights of communities affected by hydro-electric dam projects. Available at: Accessed 1 January 2013.
[click to view]

Accessed on 1 January 2013.

Threaten Ancient Sites in Science, volume 336. Published by AAAS.

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Flickr, abudoma photostream (2007). Kajbar Dam protest demo in London. Available at
[click to view]


Accessed 31 December 2011.

Ampin, Manu (2011). Kajbar Dam and the Flooding of Ancient Nubia, part 1 of 5. Series available at Accessed 31 December 2012.
[click to view]


Youtube (2007). Videos purporting to show a 2007 march against Kajbar Dam and its suppression that left four dead. Available at: and Accessed 1 January 2013.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Patrick Burnett
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:159
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