Biggest African Bank Faces Opposition Over Pipeline Funding Plan

Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest bank by assets, faces opposition from environmental activists to its plan to help fund a $3.5 billion oil pipeline in East Africa., an international group of climate activists that opposes the use of fossil fuels, on Thursday handed over a petition signed by more than 20,000 people at the bank’s headquarters in Johannesburg, according to a statement. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. is also a potential financier of the project, said.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline is “set to traverse Uganda and Tanzania, causing potentially irreversible damage to farmlands and wetlands,” said in the statement. Thirty million people in six nations will be affected, it said.

Uganda discovered commercially viable oil deposits in 2006 and plans to start production in 2023-24. Total SA and Cnooc Ltd. of China own fields in the country.

“Standard Bank is committed to doing business the right way,” a spokesman said in an emailed response to questions. “We support responsible investment through assessing and managing our environmental, social and governance risks.”

The bank has come under pressure from environmental activists for declining to disclose its lending to oil and gas projects, and has said it will do so by the end of the year.

more recommended stories