Accepted paper:

Economic contribution of Merowe Dam in Sudan: an analysis of communities' perception


Al-Noor Abdullah (University of Plymouth)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines 3 interrelated economic impacts of Merowe Dam in Sudan electricity, agriculture and infrastructure. Evidence suggests, local communities are aware of positive and adverse impacts but mainly focused on the visible impact related to livelihood sources and limited on infrastructure.

Paper long abstract:

Concern on the economic impacts of Merowe Dam in Sudan and studies exploring local communities' perception of this issue are nascent. The present paper provides an insight on the economic impacts of Merowe Dam as perceived by Merowian farmers and other stakeholders which are supported by material evidences, such as: electricity supply and its role in agriculture and other areas of the economy; and infrastructure for transportation and marketing of agricultural goods.. Three inter-related areas of impact have been analysed - electricity, agriculture and infrastructure in the region, using an array of indicators collected through questionnaires and interviews. The results show that local communities are well aware of both positive and adverse economic impacts of Merowe Dam although these are more focused on the visible impacts closely related to livelihood sources, such as 'food production', 'water supply' and 'electricity cost'. Food production has increased including fishing despite some shortages in irrigation water supply especially in relocated communities. Electricity supply led to reduction in irrigation cost but domestically the cost of obtaining electricity has increased. Local communities' perceptions are weak for impacts not related to agriculture, such as infrastructure. Raising farmers' awareness of the role of infrastructure in supporting agro-economic activities is urgently needed for sustainable economic development in the region. In doing so modern agriculture and its applications needs improvement in all fronts, however, there is a need to be a balance between addressing the livelihood needs of local communities and enhancing agribusiness in the region by policy-makers.

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