Story behind the Dam
Ghana got its independence in 1957 and was eager to develop.
It needed energy for all its new services.
Their answer: The river Volta- Hydroelectricity from a dam.
It got loans from the World Bank, UK and USA.
As part of this deal, an american company Valco got the right to produce aluminiuim using electricity from the dam.
Ghana was happy as it has lots of bauxite (needed to make aluminium) so promised Valco electricity for 50 years.
What Ghana hoped would happen
-Electricity for homes and businesses
-Aluminium exported for a good price
-Irrigation for farming
-Fishing industry to develop
-Tourism to develop
-Transport routes between north and south
The project gets going
-80,000 people were moved from farms and homes so 4% of Ghana could be flooded.
-It was completed in 1965
-Valco built an aluminium smelter at the port of Tema.
-Valco said it would import alumina from mines in Jamiaca until an alumina and railway had been built.
How things turned out
Valco was still importing alumina from Jamaica and using none of Ghanas bauxite.
It was paying much less for electricity than the local companies did. (At times it used nearly half the electricity from the dam.)
It didnt have to pay tax.
Frequent droughts caused the level of water in the lake to fall- which meant less electricity.
Ghana had to export its bauxite.
The lake was not used for irrigation, transport or tourism. (Only fishing)
Most villages in Ghana still have no electricity!