First Published: 2012-05-24

 

UK aid to Morocco to fund electricity for Europe

 

World Bank will finance with UK aid money Ouarzazate solar project, designed to prioritise export to Europe rather than ensure that ordinary Moroccans can access affordable electricity.

 

Middle East Online

For Europe

LONDON - The Moroccan government is expected to award a contract in the coming weeks for the building of a massive solar power plant in Morocco, using UK aid money to produce electricity for Europe.

Money taken from the UK aid budget is to be used by the World Bank to finance the Ouarzazate solar project, designed to prioritise export to Europe rather than ensure that ordinary Moroccans can access affordable electricity.

The project is part funded the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund, which receives 14 per cent of its money - or £385 million – from the UK overseas aid budget. The fund’s objectives include poverty reduction, but a report launched today by the World Development Movement argues that the project could in fact exacerbate poverty in Morocco.

The report’s author Oscar Reyes said today: “Investment in renewable energy is essential to the fight against climate change. But measures to tackle climate change will only work if they also address poverty and inequality. By setting in place an export-led model that is likely to see electricity costs for the Moroccan people increase, and by asking the Moroccan government to subsidise the creation of a risky mega-project, Ouarzazate could make it more difficult for ordinary Moroccans to access electricity, especially in rural areas. And yet the project is being funded from the UK’s overseas aid project, the very purpose of which is to reduce poverty.”

The World Development Movement is calling for the new global Green Climate Fund, intended to replace temporary arrangements such the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund, to prioritise projects that tackle poverty and aid transition to a low carbon economy, instead of subsidising multinational companies.

In December the anti-poverty group revealed that UK aid money channelled through the World Bank is also being used to produce cheap electricity for the US multinational Walmart, through a project that violates the rights of indigenous people in Mexico.

The Ouarzazate solar project in Morocco is part of Desertec, a plan by a consortium of energy and finance multinationals to construct an energy ‘super-grid’ connecting Europe with the Middle East and North Africa.

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy is expected to award the contract for the Ouarzazate project to one of three groups, led by Abeinsa ICI, Enel SpA (ENEL) and ACWA Power International.

 

US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance advances in IS-held Tabqa

US drone strike kills 5 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Libya seizes two foreign oil tankers after gunbattle at sea

Turkish opposition down but not out

Europe’s 2017 elections affecting lives of Arabs, Muslims

Iran opens refinery to become petrol self-sufficient

Kuwaiti resigns from FIFA council to fight bribery claim

Waterway lifeline for civilians fleeing Tabqa

New Jordan-Syria spat revives simmering tensions

Trump’s U-turn on Syria checks Iranian ambitions

Hezbollah defiance on Israel border undermines Lebanon Army

Pope lifts spirits of Egypt's persecuted Christians

UN eyes new Western Sahara talks after Polisario pullback

Erdogan says Turkey, US can turn Raqa into 'graveyard'

Hamas to amend controversial charter

Turkish authorities block access to Wikipedia

Pope Francis leads mass in Egypt

President of European rights group censured for Assad meeting

Pope Francis flies to Egypt as 'pilgrim of peace'

Palestinians protest to support prisoners on hunger strike

Turkish army, Syrian Kurdish militia in new clashes

Erdogan to rejoin Turkey ruling party next week

Germany urges EU not to break off Turkey accession talks

OPCW says chemical weapons allegedly used 45 times in Syria

Netanyahu slams German foreign minster as 'insensitive'

UK warns of ‘increased level of terrorist activity’

Erdogan hopes for 'new page' with US under Trump

UN Security Council calls for Polisario pullback from Guerguerat

UN envoy to Libya to visit Sudan for peace talks

Tunisian PM booed out of town hall meet

Russian spy ship sinks off Turkish coast

London police arrest ‘terror act’ knifeman by parliament

Palestinians strike in support of protesting prisoners

Two Saudi soldiers killed in rocket attack near Yemen border

German soldier plots attack under refugee disguise

Iraq forces retake town of Hatra from IS

Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan

EU reviews Libya request for naval equipment

Jail terms over death of Moroccan fishmonger

UN appoints Syrian Olympic swimmer as ambassador

Bahraini activist on hunger strike behind bars

Calls on Saudi social media for jobless protest

Tunisian coastguards no match for high-speed smugglers