Adam Smith International

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Adam Smith International was founded in the early 1990s by some staff from the Adam Smith Institute. Although the two are frequently confused, this is now an entirely independent company which no longer has any ties to the Institute.

ASI is based in London as well as having a registered office in Delhi and project offices elsewhere. "Our core expertise lies in the fields of government and enterprise/utility reform and in a range of closely related critical support areas, notably policy communications and labour reform," ASI states on its website. [1]

ASI projects and the DfID Drip Feed

Projects ASI has worked on include:

  • A project for the World Bank on "a review of Rwanda’s essential utilities (roads, telecoms, water, gas, electricity, etc.), an assessmentof the current levels of access to these utilities and a series of recommendations for involving the private sector to increase the efficiency of their delivery." [2]
  • Advising the government of Rwanda on the privatisation of the Pfunda tea factory which was sold to a UK based tea trading company, LAB International. [3]
  • In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in 1998, ASI established "a semi-autonomous body known as the Implementation Secretariat (IS)" which "was given the responsibility of reviewing the status of 87 state-owned enterprises and cooperative societies." On its website, ASI states that "to date, more than fifty enterprises and cooperatives have been privatised, disinvested, closed or restructured, creating over US$110m of revenue for the Government of Andhra Pradesh and making fiscal savings of over $300m." [4]
  • In Ghana since 1999, ASI has been working on a project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) DFID to develop proposals on water supply issues. DfID asked ASI has to help a government regulatory body to develop a pro-poor regulatory social policy that will result in universal access to affordable water.
  • In January 2004, ASI hosted a major international conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with assistance once more from DfID, promoting its preferred free trade policies including canvassing a South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and the repeal of the "highly restrictive" Multi-Fibre Arrangement on textiles. [5]
  • In Iraq, with DfID funding, ASI is working on a project to "assist three vital Iraqi ministries (Finance; Planning & Development Coordination; Municipalities & Public Works) in building emergency capacity for the immediate provision of vital services. ASI is involved in laying the foundations for long-term reform". [6]

Think Tank's Water Bank Rankles

DfID paid ASI "more than £500,000 to provide advice to the Tanzanian government," with over half that amount spent on a video extolling the benefits of water privatisation, the Guardian reported in May 2005. "Our old industries are dry like crops and privatisation brings the rain," was one statement in the video. [7]

"UK ministers have been accused of spending British aid money on a public relations campaign to promote water privatisation in Sierra Leone," reported BBC News in August 2005. Vicky Cann, of the organization World Development Movement, criticized the British Department for International Development (DfID), saying, "In the poorest country of the world, which is still recovering from a decade long bitter civil war, DfID is not only going to pay international consultants to advise on how to privatise water ... but they will also pay for a propaganda campaign to run alongside it to counter public resistance." [8] The eight firms under consideration for the contract include ASI and PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to the Guardian. In May, a similar water privatization scheme in Tanzania that DfID paid Adam Smith International £273,000 to promote collapsed "after the contractor, Biwater, was asked to leave by the government." [9]


Contact details

Adam Smith International
Westminster Tower
3 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7SP
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7735 6660
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7793 0090
Email: Mailbox AT

External links