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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Resettlement and population changes : aspects of the Volta Basin Scheme, Ghana Nortey, Peter Alphonsus


Population Resettlement forms the general subject area of this study. This topic is described in general terms to establish the fact that population resettlement is a problem common to many developing countries. Since the importance which a nation attaches to population resettlement depends on national circumstances, the significance of the problem of population resettlement in Ghana is reviewed as a case study. Ghana is a developing country which is currently implementing a multi-purpose river basin development scheme, called the Volta River Project. Basically, it is a hydroelectric power project. The Volta Lake has displaced some 80,000 riparian settlers in the Volta Basin. The displaced people should be resettled in new settlements, and they should be provided with satisfactory housing, employment, and social facilities and amenities. All these aspects of population resettlement call for the formulation of major governmental policies. It is hypothesized that the Volta Basin Population Resettlement Scheme must contribute towards the attainment of Ghana's social, economic, and physical planning objectives. The method of investigation is based on the premise that population resettlement is not an isolated problem, and that it should be examined within a national framework. Consequently, the highlights of the national objectives and policies of Ghana, as defined in the Ghana Seven-Year Development Plan, 1963/64 to 1969/70, are stated. To put the population resettlement scheme in perspective, the Volta River Project is analyzed to show its national importance and its compatibility with the national objectives of Ghana. Multi-purpose river basin development projects, carried out in India and the United States of America, involved the relocation of families in potential reservoir areas. A review of the Damodar Valley Project in India and the Tennessee Valley Project in the United States of America indicate that population resettlement is a national problem, the solution of which requires the formulation of policies by the highest level of government in a country. On the basis of experience in India and the United States of America, the following criteria for evaluating Ghana's population resettlement scheme are evolved: (1) Declared National Objectives; (2) Regional Development Project as part of a National Plan; (3) Education for Population Resettlement; (4) Planned Settlements; (5) Consistency of Project Administration with National Policies; and (6) Devolution of Functions. The criteria are applied to the Volta Basin Population Resettlement Scheme. The findings of this application tend to substantiate the hypothesis, that the Volta Basin Population Resettlement Scheme must contribute towards the attainment of Ghana's social, economic, and physical planning objectives. Nevertheless, the method of investigation is evaluated. Its shortcomings stem from the lack of sufficient data for detailed regional analysis of the population resettlement scheme. Other ways of implementing a population resettlement scheme are evaluated. It is concluded from this evaluation that Ghana's approach to population resettlement will most probably contribute to the attainment of her national objectives. It is, however, recommended that education for population resettlement should be a continuing process. It is further recommended that the Volta River Development Act should be amended to enable the Volta River Authority to transfer some of its functions to the Urban and Local Councils in the Volta Basin Planning Region. In the final analysis, it is the people in the new settlements who will ensure the success of the population resettlement scheme. It is therefore recommended that there should be permanent machinery for carrying out continuing evaluations of the people's reactions to changes to be brought about by the Volta River Project.

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