Geography Theme 3 Case Studies

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Aid- Ghana, Western Africa

  • Ghana is a LEDC in west Africa, west of Nigeria, along the coastline. 
  • Need aid because: poor, population rising rapidly, increase in pop. is causing environmental problems. Country only has two main exports, both of which are primary products (cocoa and coffee) and therefore it experiences trade deficit. Without help, the improvement of standard of living would be difficult. Education and healthcare are low. Thousands live in poverty and many people have lost their homes due to war. Ghana recieves two kinds of aid:
  • Bilateral Aid- e.g. USA building the Volta Dam: in 1966 Ghana loaned $100 million from USA and World Bank to build the Volta Dam. It was tied aid so it bought resources to build the dam and gained ownership of the HEP plant. Effects: placed Ghana in debt, they did not gain from the HEP plant as USA took most of the profit. Provided clean water for very few people, 5% of Ghana flooded leading to 80,000 people having to move. But tourism has increased, the dam has supported the growth of the economy which now accounts for 5% of GDP. 
  • Charity Aid (NGO) e.g. Christian Aid Health Project: no debt, voluntary aid, based on educating population, educates people to build stone lines, to hep farmers keep soil moist to grow crops, health clinics have been built, and the charity provides people with basic education about how to prevent disease. Effects: food prod. up 20%, disease rates down 50%.
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Secondary Industry that has changed location- Wale

  • Steelworks, originally located in the valleys of South Wales (Merthyr Tydfil and Eddw Vale),  from 1990s onwards, found on the south coast in Port Talbot (east of Swansea)-one site. 
  • Orig. location factors: coal in the valleys and iron ore and limestone. Labour from towns such as Ebbw Vale. Rivers provided power to drive water wheels. Near coast for exports of steel.
  • Why the move: coal and iron ore are running out, government closed the coal mines. 
  • New location factors: Government chose site, M4 and rail links available. Swansea and Port Talbot provided labour, large expanse of flat land (5 miles), import/export point. 
  • Why the move? Many raw materials in the valleys (coal, iron ore etc.), transportation of the steel to coast was inconvenient, Port Talbot offered the potential to import raw materials and export steel across the world, the railway and M4 are close to PT, PT and Swansea offered strong labour force, PT offered a large stretch of flat land, government offered a grant to relocate to PT.  Impact on valleys: 70,000 ish jobs lost, less economic activity, less tax going to council, less investment, people moved away, decline in small businessed, now 2nd most deproved town in the UK, landscape ruined.  Impact on PT: more direct jobs (Tata Steel= 3,500 jobs) Steelworks creates an eye sore for local population. 1,500 indirect jobs created, economic development- but many jobs low paid, most polluted town in Wales, coastal habitats damaged, mobility of pop. increased. 
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TNC/ MNC- Nokia- once world's largest manufacturer

  • Nokia originated in Finland, to North of Europe, North East of the UK. 
  • Useful information: Head office= Helsinki, Finland- offices and factories worldwide. Employ over 112,000 people worldwide. R&D in 10 countries, factories in 10 and sales offices in more than 150 countries.  Global Distribution: most primary jobs take place in DR Congo, w. access to Coltan) and Saudi Arabia, oil. Secondary jobs are found China and Taiwan (battery construction). Most of Nokia's tertiary and quartenary activities are in Finland, UK and USA. Some call centres have been moved to areas like Dehli. Sales largely in Europe (39%). 52% of Nokias employees are found in Europe. Explain the G.D: primary: in areas with raw material, secondary: skilled labout force, long hours for low wages, have necessary tech. to make components like the SIM. Quartenery and tertiary mainly in Finland, UK and USA: skills, access to target market, people in MEDCs will pay large amounts for goods. Also a research base in China.  Regional scale: Dehli, North central India: skilled labour, £1,200 per year (low), 24 hour work patterns, improved technology- global communication, more relaxed work regulations, communications, Eng=2nd language, government are supportive. Consequences: 2000 direct jobs, 800 indirect jobs, training offered, more disposable income, India is becoming leading software development & communications centre for many ICT firms, e.g. IBM. 
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Nokia continued

  • Positive consequences: 2000 direct jobs, 800 indirect jobs, training offered, more disposable income, India is becoming leading software development & communications centre for many ICT firms, e.g. IBM. 
  • Negative consequences: decisions made in Finland, skilled job roles are filled bu Europeans= money leakage, weak environmental laws= neglect of local environment, poor labour laws= exploitation of workers. Ear infections and stressful work conditions. 
  • International impacts of Nokia's operations: many manufacturing centres have closed across Europe- in favour of cheaper factories in places such as China. 2003, they closed R&D operations in Surrey, as they were moving R&D across the world to places such as China-led to 150 job losses. Nokia have been accused of exploitation, as they have factories with sweatshop conditions and the long hours in call centres. Nokia ship goods all over the world, contributing to carbon footprint. Slowly developing sales in African nations, supporting development in more remote parts of the world. Nokia are trying hard to be sustainable, 70% of packaging comes from recycled sources. Many workers can work from home to minimise fuel consumption. 
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Local Scale impact of tourism on environment- Wind

  • Windermere, located in the Lake District National Park, located to the North West of England. 
  • Impacts of economic activity upon the environment: risk to 'Arctic Charr', congestion and overcrowding created- especially on A591- icnreases air and noise pollution. Litter, beach fires etc. created by the tourist industry around lake are dangerous to wildlife in the area- birds especially at risk. Some 'viewing stations' have been obstructed by new buildings, creating environmental eye sores. Footpath erosion around the lake and erosion at entry points for boats. Effects: artic charr at risk of extinction, air and noise pollution, wildlife at risk, eye sores, footpath erosion
  • Sustainable solutions used: extended cycle routes around the lake to discourage congestion on roads. 'Winderclean'- annual litter picking event is now well-established. Use of 'Lake Patrol Team" and 'Lake Warden"- role includes management of litter, fires etc. To reduce litter, some bins have been taken awat, encourages people to take litter home with them. They have laid new footpaths using local stone. woodchip sto strengthen the paths and reduce erosion. Plans to restore native woodland- the Wonderful Woodlands Windermere Reflections Project. Implement 'Soap Suds- Love your Lakes" Campaign- limit use of detergents. 
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Trans-boundary water issues- Mekong River

  • Mekong River, a transboundary river in SE Asia, From Tibet, the river runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. 
  • Uses: river helps sustains lives of 65 million people, e.g. fishermen in Cambodia catch approx. 2 million tonnes of fish per year.  Used for: drinking water, irrigation, HEP, silt to fertilise land, fishing. 
  • Problems that exist: In 2010, Laos proposed to build the Xayaburi Dam. In 2012, Laos went against neighbouring governments and decided to proceed with the dam, despite on-going opposition from Cambodia and Vietnam. For over two years, Cambodia and Vietnam tried to delay the sam over fears that is would have significany trans-boundary impacts on fisheries and agriculture downstream. Also, China has proposed the building of 15 dams for hydroelectric power. Some of these dams have already been built (Manwan Dam), disrupting water flow for downstream countries. 
  • Pos impacts: HEP generated from the da, providing cheap source of energy for China, Thailand and Laos. Dams in China are helping fuel their industrial revolution, during wet season, water trapped upsteam reduces flooding in Cambodia.
  • Neg impacts: Sediment does not travel downtream and so during wet season, silt is not deposited on farmlands- degradation of soil and rice production in the lower valleys suffering
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Mekong Continued

  • More neg imapcts: irrigation networks are starved of water, farmers struggle to irrigate land in dry season. Building of the dams leads to displacement of people- Manwan led to displacement of 25000 people. Fish are trapped upstream, fishermen in Cambodia are experiencing less fish- stocks are down 30%. By reducing flooding in Cambodia, fish are not spreading into laeks- leading to less fish. As the river slows down in Cambodia, deposition has occured impacting upon thr navigation of boats. MNCs often own shared in the dams built, this leads to leakage of funds away from Mekong countries. 
  • Solutions: 1995- Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam established Mekong River Commission to assist the management and coordianted use of the Mekong's river resources. Decisions made along the Mekong are often made in consultation through MR comission- threat of war avoided. However, commision was powerless in the building of the Xayaburi Dam and did not amnage to stop the project. 
  • Future agreements may include: agreements to maintain the migratory pathways for fish so that they can reach Cambodia, flushing of the dams to allow sediment to move downstream. Agreements in the HEP profits and shared or that electricity is shared with downstream countries. Agreement to allow dams to flow through during dry season so that irrigation can continue downstream. 
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