“Mike Muller is a South African water expert, engineer and writer on development issues. He is also commissioner at South Africa’s National Planning Commission and a visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg; a member of the Global Water Partnership’s Technical Advisory Committee and an advisor to the UN World Water Assessment Programme. He was previously director general of South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.
Olivia Boyd caught up with him on the sidelines of a water conference in Oxford, where he was speaking about China’s role in African hydropower development.
Olivia Boyd: You argue that China has broken an “investment boycott” when it comes to hydropower in Africa. Can you explain what that means? What was the boycott, and what caused it?
Mike Muller: The multilateral organisations and a lot of the bilaterals were essentially blocked from investing in large water infrastructure because environmental concerns had dominated the agenda. Western NGOs had actually constrained lending policy. This is well-documented in the case of the World Bank, but equally true for a lot of other agencies.”
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