Today In History: The Volta River Hydro-Electric Project Is Inaugurated On January 22, 1966

The Akosombo Dam, also known as the Volta Dam, is a hydroelectric dam on the Volta River in southeastern Ghana in the Akosombo gorge and part of the Volta River Authority. The construction of the dam flooded part of the Volta River Basin and led to the subsequent creation of Lake Volta. The flooding that created the Lake Volta reservoir displaced many people and had a significant impact on the local environment.

Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world by surface area. It covers 8,502 square kilometres (3,283 sq mi), which is 3.6% of Ghana’s land area. With a volume of 148 cubic kilometres, Lake Volta is the world’s third-largest man-made lake by volume, the largest being Lake Kariba which is located between Zimbabwe and Zambia in Southern Africa and contains 185 cubic kilometres of water.

The primary purpose of the Akosombo Dam was to provide electricity for the aluminium industry. The Akosombo Dam was called “the largest single investment in the economic development plans of Ghana.” The dam is also significant for providing the majority of both Togo and Benin’s electricity, although the construction of the Adjarala Dam hopes to reduce these countries’ reliance on imported electricity.

In concluding his speech to the national assembly on the Hydro project on March 25, 1963, Kwame Nkrumah said:

……” I would like to urge the Members of the National Assembly to visit the Dam site at Akosombo from time to time and to persuade their constituents and friends here and abroad to come and see this gigantic dream come true. It is indeed an inspiring experience to visit the Dam site and imbibe the message of hope and growth it conveys for our Nation. Major projects such as the Volta are the new “places of Pilgrimage” in this modern age of Science and Technology. They serve as monuments to the determination and dedication of a whole people to raise themselves to a fuller and richer life. In this noble endeavour, we welcome foreign Capital — institutional or Private-from all sources, provided it is offered without strings and it is attracted to this country not merely by the economic viability of projects but especially by a spirit of true partnership and a willingness to help to build up Ghana’s prosperity and the welfare of its people on enduring foundations”


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