China is an increasingly prominent actor in infrastructure development in the Global South. Hydropower, as a renewable energy source, is a key area in which Chinese technological cooperation and finance can contribute to sustainable growth. However, many of China's overseas hydropower projects remain controversial for their social and environmental impacts.This paper presents a comparative case study of a China Exim Bank-financed project and a World Bank-led multilateral project – both located in Cameroon – to highlight the commonalities and differences between China as a rising power and “traditional” Northern donors in the field of hydropower development. It examines the financiers’ influence on tendering, financing and implementation, as well as pathways of technology transfers undertaken. While both projects adhere to domestic regulations, the rigor of norm-enforcement and the level of involvement from financiers differ considerably, with implications for the projects’ construction, labor-relations and potential for technology transfers.This study contributes to the understanding of the developing norms and practices surrounding environmental and social impact management and technology transfers in South-South cooperation by engaging in a comparison of China, a rising power, and “traditional” donors such as the World Bank, who are re-emerging in the field of infrastructure development.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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