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Accepted paper:

Decolonising rivers and dams: an Ethio-Italian research on political economy and political ecology of Salini in Ethiopia


Emanuele Fantini (IHE Delft Institute for Water Education)
Luca Puddu (Scuola Superiore Meridionale - University of Naples Federico II)
Edegilign Hailu Woldegebrael (French Center for Ethiopian Studies)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

We are an Ethio-Italian team of researcher that would like to contribute to the debate on decolonising water knwoledge in Africa by looking at the presence of the Italian construction company Salini in Ethiopia. Informed by political economy and political ecology approaches, our research analyses three infrastructural projects implemented by Salini in Ethiopia under three different political regimes: Legadadi dam (1967-71, under Imperial Ethiopia, commissioned by the municipality of Addis as part of its water supply scheme); Tana-Beles project (under the Derg, little Beles dam and other infrastructure works as part of a big resettlement and rural development scheme, 1986-1992); Gilgel Gibe III (under EPRD, currently).

Against the Salini's historical and dominant roles in the major Ethiopian dam construction projects , in order to highlight transformation and continuities throughout time and places, we will address the following questions:

 How have dam's decision-making practices, funding schemes and implementation (construction works) been conducted in Ethiopia?

 How have the Salini Impregilo been an important actor in shaping Ethiopia's dam decision-making, funding schemes and implementation?

 What are the linkages between this company which designed and constructed dams and those assessing impacts and standards?

 To what extent has the company adopted new transnational ideas regarding improved decision making, funding schemes and implementation on dams? If any, what freedom did it have to implement these ideas?

 How sub-national actors from a particular dam-affected area respond to the dam project and with what effects? [for example: to what extent that regional and ethnic elites from the affected areas were able to influence the central government's project plan and/or to ensure that the region benefits from the dam?

 How physical (environment) and technical (knowledge and expertise) issues have shaped Salini's presence and projects in Ethiopia?

panel D18
Disciplinary trends in Africa: water science and technology