The role of government in setting an appropriate environment for public infrastructure development : a case study of hydropower development in Lao PDR : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy
The role of government in setting an appropriate environment for public infrastructure development is explored to understand whether there are strong links between infrastructure, development and government. In examining this subject, a number of related issues are also considered, including why infrastructure is important to development, how managing resources well leads to better infrastructure outcomes and why is it essential that infrastructure is managed more effectively. Each of these leads to a better understanding of the roles government should play in infrastructure management. The methodology is designed to develop a definition for infrastructure and understand what the literature says about the links between government, development and infrastructure. The manner in which infrastructure has been provided historically is also considered and this research supports a system of infrastructure management. The system is then investigated through a hydropower project in Laos that is examined as a qualitative case study. The links between government, development and infrastructure are found to be strong in this thesis, but governments have had mixed involvement in infrastructure provision through the ages. At the end of the last century government is seen to have increasingly engaged with the private sector in a structured way. The core roles of government that cannot be left to others are found to include planning, procurement and regulation of infrastructure outcomes. These roles should be delivered within an overarching national infrastructure plan that is carried out by a centralised Infrastructure Management Unit. The case study project highlights some enhancements that can be made to the system proposed in the thesis and helps explain why there are sometimes exceptions to application of the whole system, although exceptions should be limited because caseby- case project development is suboptimal to initiatives that are formed as part of a national infrastructure planning process.