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Economic Contributions of Mega-Dam Infrastructure as Perceived by Local and Displaced Communities: A Case Study of Merowe Dam, Sudan

1
Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
2
Faculty of Economics, Shandong University of Finance and Economics, Jinan 250001, China
3
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060227
Received: 8 April 2020 / Revised: 16 May 2020 / Accepted: 1 June 2020 / Published: 12 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
Investigations on the socioeconomic impacts of mega-dam projects have tended to focus on conventional cost–benefit analysis, while studies exploring perceptions of local communities, who are some of the prime beneficiaries of these development initiatives, are limited. This paper aims to address this research gap through a case study of community perceptions on the socioeconomic impacts of the Merowe Dam in Sudan from the residents of upstream, downstream, and relocated locations. Data were collected primarily through surveys and interviews with residents, government officials, dam implementation authority, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other key informants and a series of indicators were developed for the analysis from the responses. Three inter-related areas of impact were scrutinized: (a) electricity generation; (b) development of modern agriculture; and (c) institutional infrastructure in the region. The results reveal that local communities are fully aware of both the positive and adverse socioeconomic impacts of the Merowe Dam, although these are focused more on the visible impacts closely related to their livelihood and income, such as increased food production, water shortages, electricity supply and its costs. Policy implications include investments in the new settlement areas with respect to the agricultural economy, such as irrigation improvement through electrification, promoting crop diversity, research, development, and diffusion of modern agricultural technologies. Efforts are also needed to strike a balance between provision of utilities and services, (i.e., water, electricity and other infrastructural facilities) provided by the Merowe Dam, amongst communities in relocated, upstream, and downstream locations. View Full-Text
Keywords: community perception; economic impact; electricity generation; modernization of agriculture; socioeconomic development and institutional infrastructure community perception; economic impact; electricity generation; modernization of agriculture; socioeconomic development and institutional infrastructure
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Abdullah, A.-N.; Rahman, S.; Essex, S.; Benhin, J. Economic Contributions of Mega-Dam Infrastructure as Perceived by Local and Displaced Communities: A Case Study of Merowe Dam, Sudan. Agriculture 2020, 10, 227.

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