Using the Volta Lake as a hydropower source was conceived by Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah long before Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah thought of it. That is the assertion of the 2016 Flagbearer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“I was excited to discover that Danquah had a dream, before Nkrumah returned from his studies abroad, of developing the Volta Basin not only for light, water and power but also to exploit its vast mineral resources to benefit the people of Ghana,” the former foreign affairs Minister told an audience Wednesday February 4, 2015 when he delivered a lecture in Accra to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr Danquah while in prison under President Nkrumah’s administration.
“This is the question he posed to the Colonial Secretary at Question Time in the Legislative Council on September 17th, 1947:
Dr Danquah: Would Government consider the appointment of a National Committee to enquire into the possibilities of a Volta Basin Corporation to develop the resources of the river for light, water and power, and to exploit for public benefit the vast mineral resources of the Volta Basin?”
“Colonial Secretary: In the present circumstances, no Sir.”
According to Akufo-Addo, a few years later, Danquah “argued unsuccessfully against the Nkrumah Government negotiating a deal for the Volta Basin Project that would not include the exploitation of Ghana’s bauxite for the proposed aluminum smelting plant.”
In Akufo-Addo’s view, Ghana has “a lot of work to do to exploit our mineral resources and add value to them. In much the same way, we would be following in Danquah’s path when we add value to our petrochemicals and bauxite resources.”
“Adding value to these resources, manufacturing, i.e. making things, developing the appropriate skills of our population – these are the paths to our future prosperity and jobs for our youth. We have to travel down them and do so now, not tomorrow, not the day after tomorrow, but now,” he said.