Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff says “far too little attention has been devoted to understanding why multilateral development lending has so often failed”. In his experience, MDBs are most valuable as “knowledge” banks — sharing soft development infrastructure such as experience and best practices rather than financial muscle. The latter, he says, has led to their “greatest failures”.
Just as China took a moment to enjoy Washington and Tokyo’s discomfort over Europe’s biggest economies declaring in favour of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank, Washington and Tokyo took a moment to caution joiners to beware of governance standards. We say: beware of multilateral development banks in general.
China’s ban on virtual private networks (VPN) prompts this ChinaFile conversation between global experts on the potential outfall from Beijing’s latest pullback on citizens’ online access. According to award-winning journalist George Chen: “These days, the government is keen to regulate everything it hates and promote everything it likes with new legislation or renewed enforcement. That’s what the rule of law Chinese-style is all about.”
Much has been written about China in Africa — China’s #1 spot as Africa’s biggest trading partner, its massive investment in infrastructure development across the continent, its hands-off approach to domestic politics — but is talk of China’s domination in Africa overdone? The Economist reports.
This spotlight on mega-dams of note, profiled by International Rivers’ Peter Bosshard for The Guardian, lists more banes than boons with a quest Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, famously described as the “disease of gigantism.”
The World Bank bars China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG), from its projects for three years for misconduct in Africa and Southeast Asia. South China Morning Post reports.
(January 24, 2014) USAID may join forces with Chinese state companies to build a controversial and uneconomic dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
(December 2, 2012) Four workers are missing and presumed drowned after a Chinese dam project, in the throes of construction in western Cambodia, partially collapsed on Saturday.
(November 29, 2012) As the most dammed country in the world and the largest exporter of dams abroad, China ranks as a hydropower-producing powerhouse with a wealth of experience that should inspire reassurance. The opposite is often the case, however, given China’s disregard for international social and environmental standards, both at home and overseas. A new action guide produced by the US-based environmental NGO, International Rivers Network, aims to help watchdogs of China’s ‘going out’ projects in their efforts to ensure safety and the rights of local communities affected by Chinese dam construction.
(November 23, 2012) The proposed takeover of Calgary-based oil and gas producer Nexen by China’s state-owned oil giant CNOOC should be nixed by the Canadian government, says Probe International’s Patricia Adams. As instruments of the Communist Party, China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are undisciplined by markets or the rule of law. Without subsidies, their rate of return on equity is negative. It would be impossible to stop them from distorting the Canadian economy, so Canada should just say no to CNOOC.
(August 9, 2012) A new book on human security and China features a chapter by Patricia Adams and Dai Qing of Probe International that asks ‘at what cost China’s rise?’. Dai Qing argues, at great cost.
(October 22, 2011) The recent suspension of the Myitsone dam in Myanmar shows just how unpopular China’s international dam-builders are becoming. In recent years, China has built a spate of new hydropower projects on rivers outside its borders, without much concern for their ecological and economic impacts downstream. Myitsone is a sign of growing resistance to these projects.
Myanmar’s announced cancellation of the Myitsone dam on the Irrawaddy River has brought long-standing tensions with China into the open – including setting off conflicts with the Kachin Independence Organization in the north of the country. “It may be that the Myanmar government sees Chinese investment, in particular the Myitsone dam, as a destabilising force,” said Patricia Adams.
(October 8, 2011) The Burmese president announced that the controversial Chinese-financed Myitsone dam on the Irrawaddy River would be suspended. Now the Chinese government is threatening legal action if the rights and interests of its state enterprises aren’t protected.
(August 16, 2011) Burma’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, has called for a reassessment of Burma’s massive 6,000 MW Irrawaddy Myitsone dam project.