Akosombo Dam: Exploitation of, or an investment in, a Developing Country?

A Proposal for a video essay:

Ghana has been popularly known for two things: as part of the British empire it was known as The Gold Coast, for obvious reasons; and it is currently known as the African capital of internet crime, due in part to the comparative wealth of the country. The idea of a hydroelectric dam on the Volta river (Akosombo Dam) was conceived in 1953, to supply electricity to aluminium plants at Kpong. The project was estimated to cost £230 million and was eventually funded by the World Bank, the UK and USA, and the Ghanaian government. The dam was constructed between 1961 and 1965. The resulting lake, Lake Volta, displaced 80,000 people and provided breeding ground for malarial mosquitos; however, increased tourism and a waterway through the heart of Ghana connected the previously isolated northern regions of the country. The environmental pros and cons are made quite clear upon research, but the most dubious aspect of the dam is the way in which the electricity generated is now used; depending on your sources, you may be lead to believe the dam provides power to the Ghanaian people, however even the capital of Ghana (Accra) is subject to regular power cuts, and much of Ghana goes without electricity, due to its sale to neighbouring countries for industrial use.

My grandfather was a shipping manager during the construction of the dam, and my family heirlooms include invoices for millions of cedis (Ghanaian currency) for dam building materials. Consequently, my curiosity in the project has only grown over the years, and I would now like to research, and educate people on, the history and the current role of the dam.

I plan to create a video essay to serve this purpose. The essay will include animated images displaying the water level, the distribution of electricity from the dam, and the movement of people displaced by the lake. I also plan to scan and restore the 8mm film footage my grandfather shot at the site of the dam in the 1960s. I have a particular interest in the explosions recorded on the site, and I believe they will be a powerful tool in showing the violent creation of what is now one of the largest tourist attractions in Ghana. The essay will be no longer than ten minutes. I hope to shed a little light on the modern side of neo-colonialism.

Presentation: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/18951952-akosombo-dam


Guide to Electric Power in Ghana. 1st ed. University of Ghana, 2005. PDF.

“Remediation of The Environmental Impacts Of The Akosombo And Kpong Dams In Ghana | HORIZON SOLUTIONS SITE”. Solutions-site.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.

Obeng-Asiedu, Patrick. Allocating Water Resources for Agricultural and Economic Development in the Volta River Basin. 1st ed. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2004. PDF.

Barry, Boubacar et al. The Volta River Basin. 1st ed. 2005. PDF


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