At the time of the 1975 Revolution, when the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party came to power, the country had one large dam of 15 megawatts or more. In September 2018, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said Laos has “about over 50 hydropower dams”.
The 2018 collapse of a Lao dam is far from an old, closed file stored in dusty archives, but that is the rather strange, surreal feeling one gets when searching online for updates about the disaster and its aftermath in this Southeast Asian country of 7 million people.
Since the adoption of China’s ‘going out’ strategy, Chinese enterprises have been strongly encouraged to engage overseas in a range of sectors, including agriculture. This has gathered a significant amount of interest in recent years, with a critical focus on large scale acquisitions by Chinese companies. Agriculture accounts for a small percentage of China’s overall outbound investment, and many of the large-scale land acquisitions reported in the media have not materialized.1 Nonetheless, Chinese companies of various sizes are now active in agriculture projects across the world, not only in production, but also processing, purchasing and trade. This report seeks to provide an overview of the current state of China’s overseas investment in agriculture in the Mekong region, with a focus on Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
A small school in the Northeast is setting an example in adhering to Thailand’s human rights obligations seeing its Lao pupils become student leaders. But another 200.000 migrant children are left without access to country’s education system, reports Mingkhawan Thuemor, a participant of The Isaan Journalism Network Project.