John O. Kakonge

Document Type


Publication Date



Working Paper 9


This paper argues that sub-Saharan African countries are at a crossroads in terms of fully adapting and benefiting from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. It identifies a variety of issues that have hindered full utilization of the EIA process. These include limited public participation; lack of national expertise and experience in EIA; unreliable and inadequate data; limited impact coverage; defective environmental legislation; and weak enforcement. The paper concludes by highlighting various measures required to address these constraints and to reinforce the EIA process more generally. Key measures include expanding “ownership” of EIA; ensuring compliance with international agreements; improving funding of EIA studies for government funded-projects; encouraging public sensitization to demystify the EIA process; reducing corruption; and enhancing good governance. Greater efforts and more resources are required to further integrate EIA at all levels of the development planning process, so that full benefits can be realized.