The Return of Big Infrastructure as a Geopolitical Tool

MIN READOct 31, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

Workers watch in 2012 as water is released from the Three Gorges Dam, a gigantic hydropower project on the Yangtze River in central China's Hubei province. Heavy downpours in the upper reaches of the dam caused the highest flood peak of the year.


Big infrastructure is back. Long relegated to a secondary development objective by the West, China's gambit to use infrastructure as a vehicle for promoting foreign policy objectives is changing the geopolitical landscape. Infrastructure is the highest priority in almost every developing country. As I learned from working in 49 of them, when you ask the leaders about their top development priority, the answer is always the same: roads, power and water. Not necessarily in that order, and communications infrastructure is increasingly in the mix, but the response is consistent everywhere. That's because infrastructure -- along with security and good governance -- makes economic growth and stability possible....

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