Saliem Fakir

Ever since the World Commission on Dams report, there’s been some reluctance to use hydropower as a source of clean and cheap energy, writes Saliem Fakir. But as the demand for electricity surges across the continent, Fakir asks whether – in the absence of practical, clean alternatives – Africa should reconsider hydro projects to help power its development.

They go by different names: IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa), BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China). These formations all amount to more or less the same thing: The new 'emerging economies' seeking to redefine relations between themselves and the rest of the world. They are widely seen as new symbols of power in the global arena, writes Saliem Fakier.

While China is yet to establish itself as a great power, it is certainly one in the making, writes Saliem Fakir. On the strength of global demand for its cheap goods, the Asian giant's rise has enabled it to accumulate considerable surpluses from Western capital flows. Just as this rise has somewhat dispelled the idea of no-development-without-democracy, China's willingness to regard its trading partners' policies as internal matters marks a clear contrast with the conditionalities more