Development in South East Asia: Altruism and Business Strategies

Interesting site called NextCity

 In Phnom Penh these days, cranes outnumber temple spires. Along with new apartment and office buildings, the city is in the thralls of a public-works construction boom. Rusted ferries are being replaced with modern bridges, the narrow, pothole-plagued highways that link the capital with Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok are being revamped, the city’s drainage system is being overhauled, the water supply is being extended to the furthest corners of the mushrooming metropolis, and a new fleet of public buses have taken to the motorbike-swarmed streets

But Cambodia’s famously kleptocratic government isn’t really leading the infrastructure charge. Rather, behind many of these projects stands the government of Japan, which is quietly reshaping rapidly urbanizing cities in Cambodia and across the developing world through theJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), that country’s answer to USAID…

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Nowhere … is the economic incentive to provide aid as evident as it is in JICA’s involvement in the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Southeast Asian cities. Such industrial free-trade areas lie adjacent to Cambodian ports in Phnom Penh and the coastal city of Sihanoukville, while another is being constructed next to Myanmar’s Thilawa deep-sea port, some 25 kilometers south of Yangon.

The latter SEZ is turning into something of a flashpoint for JICA, with farmers being evicted from their land to make way for the 6,000-acre industrial complex.

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