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<Can emerging ME states learn from Chinese over ambition? ⁄ >




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Back in 2007, Communist Party officials gave a stark insight into the potentially disastrous consequences of China's gigantic Three Gorges Dam project. For more than a decade China had promoted the world's biggest hydro-electric project as the best way to end centuries of floods along the basin of the Yangtze and to provide energy to fuel the country's booming economy.

But during, and before, initial stages of development the Chinese government ignored critics who claimed the dam would be both an ecological and economical catastrophe. As well as the huge strain the dam has put on the nation's economic resources, governments forums have listed a host of threats such as conflicts over land shortages, ecological deterioration as a result of irrational development and, especially, erosion and landslides on steep hills around the dam. Other authorities have also raised concerns over algae bloom downstream from the Three Gorges and a deterioration in aquatic life.

With such concerns over whether the benefits to come from the dam will ever outweigh the costs, is there something emerging economies in the Middle East can learn from the perhaps overambitious Three Gorges Dam?

One only has to look at Turkey - a nation with growing economic and political aspirations, hoping to join the EU within the next few years - for an example of how large infrastructure projects, intended to give long-term ecological and economical benefits, can soon become a burden on the government.



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