Dates2011 - 2017
- Topics Contemporary Issues, Documentary
- Location Ethiopia
Omo Change document, the big investments from European and Chinese countries in the Omo Valley, one of the most important place for its peculiar biodiversity. A big dam construction, are changing dramatically both the naturalistic ambient and the local population dayily life.
Ethiopia is a country in the central part of Africa that is suffering one of the biggest and quickest economical and industrial develop of the whole African continent. A develop average in the last 10 years of 10.8% (World Bank data) made Ethiopia the fourth economic power in Africa.
Between 2014 and 2015, GDP increased by 10.6% due also to the foreign investors who thanks to the development projects of the last years made by the Government, are changing the aspect of this country.
One of the most impacted area if the Omo Valley.
Crossed by the homonym river that starts in the Ethiopian mountains, the Omo Valley has an archaeological and naturalistic relevance.
This area is internationally known as a rare dry and semi-dry region with an extraordinary biodiversity, to the point that since 1980 the Omo Valley has been included in the list of the UNESCO heritage sites. This area has approximately 500,000 inhabitants which work mainly in agriculture and sheep-farming.
Being an extremely fragile area, the Omo Valley is inhabited by different ethnicities that were able to develop the agricultural system that works on a delicate and precious balance between survival of the human kinds and the usage of the natural resources, like the floods of the Omo River.
In 2010, the ex-Prime Minister Zenawi, who died in 2012 and replaced by the actual Prime Minister Desalegn, announced the construction of the biggest dam ever made in Africa. To start the construction of the Gibe III Dam, the Italian construction company Salini, received 1.4 billion euros. This investment is the biggest ever made in the whole African continent.
Gibe III, in the final stage of construction at the moment, will be 240 meters high and will have a 1.870 MW power and will create a 150 KM long artificial lake.
The construction of this dam has a double target; to produce hydro electrical energy to export in the neighbouring countries and stimulate the development of agriculture through the construction of a dense network of irrigation ditches that will allow to include the extensive crops which have a high economic value, such as cotton fields.
Furthermore, controlling the Omo River, will allow to make a huge government project possible: the Omo Kuraz Sugar Factories Project, inside the Mago National Park nature reserve, which sees the cultivation of approximately 245,000 hectares of land for the production of sugar cane, to be used to produce both ethanol and sugar.
The entry into operation of the Gibe III dam and the cultivation of new plantations have led to a reduction in the extension of the fluvial forest and a loss of biodiversity, confirming the risk of an heavy humanitarian crisis.
The human intervention has caused the interruption of natural floods and the supply of land by the Government is creating new geographical boundaries between the various ethnic groups with less and less land available for agriculture and pastoralism, thus modifying the social structure of the tribes.
The Omo Valley is seeing its biggest contradiction, the one that has been generated by the investments of the so called development. The Omo Valley risks of becoming a pool of resources for the rest of the world but not for its own population.
Omo Change is a project that wants to reflect on the social-anthropological and social-economical complexity using.
My project aims to be a meditation on how important investments can put at risk a human-environment balance that is present for hundreds of years, and as the changes that are happening also due to the massive circulation of cash, is deranging the existing balance.