Foreign Direct Investment in New Electricity Generating Capacity in Developing Asia: Stakeholders, Risks, and the Search for a New Paradigm

The rate of investment sufficient to provide developing Asia with a reasonably adequate supply of electricity is immense, ranging from a World Bank estimate of 2000 megawatts (MW) each month (which translates into an annual investment of about $35 billion per year) to even higher estimates. All of the larger countries of developing Asia have been looking for foreign direct investment (FDI) to provide a significant amount of the needed capital. In 1996, financial closings for new power projects in developing Asia reached $13.7 billion, or almost 40 percent of the lower range of the estimated requirement. Although data on the foreign share of the monetary value of financial closings is not available, it is likely to be over 80 percent. Thus, the foreign share of total direct investment in power projects in developing Asia appeared to have been around 30 percent before the East Asian currency crisis.