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Board approves Panel recommendation to defer investigation decision for second time in Kenya transport case


The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on December 6, 2019, approved an Inspection Panel recommendation to defer for a second time its decision on whether an investigation is warranted of the Transport Sector Support Project and its additional financing in Kenya.

The Board in April 2019 had approved a six-month deferral of the Panel’s recommendation. The second deferral is for four months. In both cases, the deferrals aim to provide Bank management time to implement actions to respond to the Requesters’ concerns about the project, which is intended to increase the efficiency of road transport along the Northern Corridor and the Tanzania-Kenya-Sudan road corridor. 

The Panel received a Request for Inspection of the project on December 17, 2018, from three members of the project-affected community in Webuye, Kenya. The complainants, who asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential, alleged harm from the construction of the Webuye interchange, which is part of the project. They raised concerns about the environment, community health and safety, livelihoods and labor conditions, as well as a lack of consultation and information disclosure. 

In recommending the six-month deferral in March 2019, the Panel recognized that a Bank management action plan, when fully implemented, would address most of the concerns raised by Requesters. The action plan included updated terms of reference for a planned Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) audit to identify mobile traders who were active in the area by the January 2011 cutoff date of the original RAP and small-business persons who were not appropriately compensated for business disruption, in an attempt to address adverse effects on their livelihoods. 
In its second deferral report, the Panel stated it had reviewed the progress achieved so far in the implementation of the various actions to which management had committed and was satisfied that these actions are on track. However, the Panel noted that some actions – a land transfer for the construction of a market for mobile traders, the disclosure of the RAP audit results and compensation related to the mobile traders and small-business persons – required additional time for completion. The Panel said it would report back to the Board within four months from the date of its report after assessing the progress in the implementation of the remaining actions by management. At that time, the Panel will make a recommendation as to whether an investigation into the Bank’s actions or omissions in this case is warranted.