The social impact of the ChadCameroon oil pipeline: How industrial development affects gender relations, land tenure and local culture


Leonard, L

Global Public Health 5(2): 209-210

2010


Global
Public
Health
I)
Routledge
Vol.
5,
No.
2,
March
2010,
209-210
F
.
Taylor
&Francis
Group
BOOK
REVIEW
The
social
impact
of
the
Chad—Cameroon
oil
pipeline:
How
industrial
development
affects
gender
relations,
land
tenure
and
local
culture,
by
Joyce
B.
Mbongo
Endeley
and
Fondo
Sikod,
Lewison,
NY,
The
Edwin
Mellen
Press,
2007,
211
pp.,
including
illustrations,
US$109.95
(hardcover),
ISBN-13
978-0-7734-5485-9
This
book
reports
on
the
findings
of
an
IDRC-sponsored
study
on
the
impact
of
the
Chad—Cameroon
Petroleum
Development
and
Pipeline
Project
on
women's
access
to
land
and
land
use
practices
in
two
provinces
in
Cameroon.
The
context
for
the
study
is
a
major
oil
pipeline
that
doubles
as
an
experiment
in
development.
The
World
Bank,
a
consortium
of
oil
companies
and
the
governments
of
Chad
and
Cameroon
agreed
to
implement
the
pipeline
project
as
a
policy package
that
was
both
market-
promoting
and
attentive
to
social
objectives
including
poverty
reduction.
The
project
was
launched
with
much
fanfare
in
2000;
since
that
time,
the
World
Bank
has
become
less
optimistic
in
its
assessment
of
the
project's
potential
to
achieve
development
aims.
The
main
impact
of
the
project
in
Cameroon
was
the
expropriation
of
land
along
the
route
of
the
pipeline,
and
Professors
Endeley
and
Sikod
set
out
to
look
at
how
this
shaped
land
tenure
practices
and,
particularly,
how
it
affected
women's
access
to
land
and
land
use
patterns.
They
end
up
with
a
far
more
wide-ranging
report.
This
may
be
appreciated
by
readers
looking
for
a
broad
overview
of
the
effects
of
the
project
in
Cameroon,
but
less
useful
for
readers
looking
for
an
in-depth
or
critical
analysis
of
the
project.
The
research
study
was
carried
out
over
31
days
in
late
2003
and
early
2004.
The
authors
and
their
assistants
conducted
hundreds
of
interviews
and
focus
group
sessions
with
residents
and
local
authorities
in
27
communities
along
the
pipeline
route.
Their
questions
covered
topics
ranging
from
land
tenure
and
land
use
to
job
opportunities,
compensation
payments,
governance
and
participation
in
community
decision-making
processes.
The
authors
discuss
a
variety
of
effects
of
the
project,
yet
this
review
focuses
on
the
findings
which
relate
most
closely
to
the
authors'
main
research
questions
about
the
gendered
effects
of
the
project
on
access
to
land
and
land
tenure
arrangements.
The
authors'
main
conclusion
is
that
the
project
did
not
fundamentally
alter
existing
structures
and
social
relations
in
the
study
communities.
While
people
were
dis-
appointed
that
the
project
did
not
change
their
lives
more
than
it
did,
the
project
had
little
impact
on
land
use
and
land
tenure
arrangements
in
rural
communities.
This
was
because
the
project
was
short-lived
and
the
land
resources
are
abundant;
there
was,
therefore,
no
scramble
to
claim
land
along
the
route
of
the
pipeline.
The
authors'
second
major
claim
is
that
women
received
less
than
men
in
compensation
payments.
This
was
mainly
because
women
grow
staple
crops
whereas
men
grow
export
or
cash
crops,
which
have
higher
market
(and
compensation)
values.
They
conclude
from
this
empirical
finding
that,
despite
the
gender
gap
in
the
size
of
the
payments,
the
project
ISSN
1744-1692
print/ISSN
1744-1706
online
DOI:
10.1080/17441690903449295
http://www.informaworld.com
210
Book
review
policies
allowed
women
to
benefit
from
compensation
payments
in
a
way
that
would
not
have
been
possible
had
the
compensation
scheme
been
based
on
private
land
tenure
or
land
rights,
since
men
are
more
likely
than
women
to
hold
private
title
to
land.
This
is
where
the
absence
of
a
critical
legal
perspective
becomes
most
obvious
in
this
otherwise
comprehensive
account.
The
authors
repeatedly
contend
that
women
had
access
to
compensation
payments
because
farmers
were
compensated
whether
or
not
they
held
private
title
to
land.
However,
this
elides
the
fact
that
farmers
who
do
not
hold
title
to
land
are
not
compensated
for
the
land
itself.
They
are
compensated
only
for
the
crops
grown
on
the
land
and
the
labour
expended
to
grow
those
crops.
At
base,
then,
the
legal
framework
provides
the
justification
for
the
differential
valuation
of
men's
and
women's
work.
Even
more
problematic,
the
World
Bank
mantra
that
land
in
Cameroon
(and
in
Chad)
`belongs
to
the
state'
is
taken
up
as
a
statement
of
fact
in
the
book
and
in
the
forward
to
the
book,
as
it
has
been
elsewhere
by
prominent
members
of
monitoring
groups
hired
by
the
World
Bank
to
follow
the
implementation
of
the
project
(Guyer
2002).
The
elements
are
present
to
make
a
different,
and
more
critical,
case.
Importantly,
the
authors
point
out
that
land
ownership
is
recognised
in
the
study
communities
in
Cameroon
in
the
absence
of
formal
legal
title:
Traditional
tenure
embodies
the
collective
ownership
of
land
and
other
major
resources
such
as
water
(rivers
and
streams
alike)
and
forests
by
the
community,
and
independent
ownership
rights
over
farmland
and
buildings
by
families.
Unoccupied
land
belongs
to
the
community
and
can
be
acquired
through
the
traditional
hierarchy.
Once
occupied,
it
becomes
the
property
of
the
family
or
individual.
Upon
death,
the
land
can
be
inherited
by
a
recognized
successor/heir.
(Endeley
and
Sikod,
2007,
p.
187)
The
authors
also
recognise
that
the
World
Bank
did
not
push
for
land
tenure
reform
in
Cameroon
in
the
context
of
the
pipeline
project,
even
though
they
are
involved
in
such
efforts
in
other
parts
of
Africa.
This
is
because
they
could
pave
the
way
for
industry
to
gain
access
to
land
without
privatisation.
The
authors
thus
miss
the
opportunity
to
make
a
critical
point:
that
it
was
industry
access
to
land
and
benefits
-
not
women's
access
to
land
and
benefits
-
that
shaped
the
compensation
policies
attached
to
the
pipeline
project.
Ceding
access
to
compensation
based
on
ownership
rights
to
acquire
access
to
compensation
based
on
use
rights
is
a
Pyrrhic
victory
for
women, men
and
all
'local
communities
..
.
in
search
of
social
justice'
to
whom
the
authors
dedicated
the
book.
References
Endeley,
J.B.
and
Sikod,
F.,
2007.
The
social
impact
of
the
Chad—Cameroon
oil
pipeline:
how
industrial
development
affects
gender
relations,
land
tenure,
and
local
culture.
Lewiston:
The
Edwin
Mellen
Press.
Guyer,
.1.I.,
2002.
Briefing:
the
Chad—Cameroon
petroleum
development
and
pipeline
project.
African
Affairs,
101,
109-115.
Lori
Leonard
Johns
Hopkins
School
of
Public
Health
lleonard@jhsph.edu
©
2010,
Lori
Leonard