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
NameKajbar Dam hydropower scheme, Sudan
ProvinceNubian Mahas
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
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Kajbar Dam has a planned 360 megawatt hydropower capacity.

Project Area (in hectares)11000
Level of Investment (in USD)705000000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesKajbar Electricity Co from Sudan
Harbin Power Engineering Company from China
Sinohydro Corporation Limited (Sinohydro) from China
Relevant government actorsDam 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 Financial InstitutionsExport-Import Bank of Sudan from Sudan
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAnti Dal-Kajbar Dams Committee, International Rivers
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment 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-economic 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)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesSudan 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 as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite protests, in 2011 the Government of Sudan awarded the contract for the building of the dam and seems intent on going ahead.
Sources and Materials

Water Resources Act (1995)

National Water Policy of Sudan (2007)


[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]

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

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

Accessed 1 January 2013.


Bosshard, Peter (2011) New Chinese Dam Project Fuels Ethnic Conflict in Sudan. 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]

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]

International Rivers
[click to view]

Accessed on 1 January 2013.

Lawler, Andrew (2012). Dams Along Sudanese Nile

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

Media Links

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 http://bit.ly/S31DfL. Accessed 1 January 2013.
[click to view]

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



Accessed 31 December 2011.

Meta Information
ContributorPatrick Burnett
Last update08/04/2014