Appraisal of planning phase of the resettlement component of the Bui Dam project : lessons from Akosombo dam resettlement

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The development of dams all over the world has been pursued for the purposes of hydroelectric power generation, irrigation purposes and flood control. The WCD's report on dams around the globe has revealed that over 45,000 dams were constructed worldwide during the 20th century. Ghana as a developing country also embarked on the construction of the Akosombo dam on River Volta, in the 1950s after her independence, to boost her development through hydropower generation for industrialization. Fifty years down in the country's history, Ghana has embarked on the construction of yet another dam- Bui Dam Project. The Bui dam, which is the third largest dam to be constructed after Akosombo and Kpong dams, is expected to produce an additional 400MW to the country's hydro power sector in the energy mix. Unlike the Akosombo and the Kpong dams, which displaced over 80,000 and 2000 people respectively, the Bui dam will displace 1,800 people according to the ESIA report. There have been a lot of criticisms of how the Akosombo and the Kpong dams failed to implement the measures that were planned to restore the livelihoods of the people who were displaced. This has been attributed to the gap between planning and implementation that had characterized the development of developing countries. In view of this, the study sought to find out how the lessons from the Akosombo dam resettlement, influenced the planning phase of the resettlement component of the Bui dam project and to identify important changes that must be introduced, to make the project sustainable and responsive to the interest of local stakeholders. The key issues that emerged from the study are that, the involvement of stakeholders such as the media and academics opened the opportunities for advocacy on the need for local community participation and involvement in the planning and implementation. Additionally, the issue of adequate time for planning and implementation of resettlement is very critical for success. Moreover, resettlement can provide opportunities to improve access to infrastructure and services. Then again, the provision of infrastructure may not be sufficient to meet the needs of the people if personnel to man the facilities are not available. It is recommended that, there is the need for long-term engagement with problems of affected communities after resettlement. Also, there is the need for information flow on compensation values and time of payment to allay the fears of resettlers. Again, there is the need for the DA to sponsor personnel is educational institutions to attract them to manage the infrastructure provided. Moreover, due to the high illiteracy levels in the communities scholarship support should be instituted to help brilliant students to pursue higher education. The issues of monitoring and evaluation must be participatory and planned within an efficient institutional framework. Finally, there is the need for resettlement to be planned and implemented within an overall local economic development framework to ensure sustainability. In conclusion it must be emphasized that most of the lessons from the Akosombo experience have influenced the planning and implementation of the Bui resettlement. The involvement of stakeholders from the national to the local levels has improved the planning and the implementation of the Bui resettlement.  
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Development Planning and Management.