International Rivers recently published a new report, Power Surge: The Impact of Rapid Dam Development in Laos. A number of these are slated to be built with Chinese funding and/or by Chinese companies, but the scene is quite varied, Russia having recently joined it along with traditional players like Vietnam, Thailand and France.
A recent visit to the German development agency GTZ’s office in Muang Sing, northern Laos, seemed to confirm what I have been told by the secretary-general of the Chinese Association in Vientiane about China slowing down its infrastructure projects in Laos (see my earlier post): it is rumoured that the Chinese company that was planning a dam in Nalay (with 24 villages slated to be relocated) has decided to withdraw. Meanwhile, this is GTZ’s last week in their pleasant ecolodge-style compound: they are reducing their presence… to the garage. A symbol of the change in who rules development around here?