Can Laos afford to be the ‘Battery of Asia’?

Critics warn of hidden costs in forging ahead with more dams

THE DEBATE over Laos’ strategy to become the “Battery of Asia” continues months after the deadly disaster at the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower dam, even as the Lao government keeps building more dams. Despite the previous government’s decision to suspend new dam projects and academics’ concerns over the transboundary impacts of dams on the environment and the wellbeing of people in the Mekong River Basin, Lao officials maintain that investing in hydropower dams is necessary to eradicate poverty in the country and boost the economy.


Pratch Rujivanarom