Social services


Bolivia water latest

26 November 2002

Bolivia provides further lessons from Bank-backed water privatisation. The Bolivian government is facing a $25 million compensation claim from US-based Bechtel after social unrest following price hikes forced the company to withdraw (see Bretton Woods Update 30). The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the World Bank’s arbitration arm handling the dispute, is reported to be still addressing concerns about the process before moving on to substantive issues. No reply has come to the August letter from NGOs decrying the closed process. In what could be the first visible effect of the international campaign, Bechtel representatives have recently met Bolivian officials, possibly in search of a settlement. Negotiations could be influenced by the fact that Bechtel is also involved in a $1,5 billion gas project in the country.

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