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Water 2015, 7(11), 6269-6284; doi:10.3390/w7116269

Chinese State-Owned Enterprise Investment in Mekong Hydropower: Political and Economic Drivers and Their Implications across the Water, Energy, Food Nexus

1
CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, Colombo 10120, Sri Lanka
2
CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, Vientiane 01000, Lao PDR
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marko Keskinen, Shokhrukh Jalilov and Olli Varis
Received: 18 May 2015 / Revised: 22 October 2015 / Accepted: 26 October 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Large Asian River Basins)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [366 KB, uploaded 6 November 2015]   |  

Abstract

Over the last decade, Chinese State-Owned Enterprises have emerged as among the most active investors in Mekong Basin hydropower development. This paper uses a political economy analysis to examine the forces that drive Chinese State-Owned Enterprises to invest in hydropower in the Mekong Basin. We focus our analysis on the Lancang (Upper Mekong River) in China and in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), with an emphasis on Cambodia. The analysis reveals how powerful political and economic forces from within China and the GMS influence the pace, location and scale of investments in hydropower. These forces include foreign exchange reserves, trade packages and foreign direct investment, and political alliances. Combining the political economy and nexus approaches, we conclude that although policies from China recognize interconnections across the nexus, political and economic forces craft narratives that downplay or disregard these nexus interconnections and trade-offs. This in turn, influences how trade-offs and interconnections in hydropower development are managed and recognized in both local and transboundary contexts, thereby, creating potentially significant negative impacts on livelihoods, food security and the environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; state-owned enterprise; hydropower; water-energy-food nexus; greater mekong subregion; political economy; transboundary China; state-owned enterprise; hydropower; water-energy-food nexus; greater mekong subregion; political economy; transboundary
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Matthews, N.; Motta, S. Chinese State-Owned Enterprise Investment in Mekong Hydropower: Political and Economic Drivers and Their Implications across the Water, Energy, Food Nexus. Water 2015, 7, 6269-6284.

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