Ghana Journal of Development Studies

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Population Dynamics and Natural Resources in the Volta in the Volta River Basin of Ghana

S N Codjoe


The Volta River basin, which covers about 400,000 km2 is one of the most economically deprived areas in Africa (average annual income is estimated at US$ 800 per year) although precious mineral resources (gold, diamond, manganese, bauxite etc.) abound. Rain-fed and some irrigated agriculture is the main economic activity of the majority of the population living in this region. High population growth rate has brought in its wake a lot of consequences for agricultural land, water and forest resources. This paper, which concentrates on the Volta River Basin in Ghana examines the trend and pattern of population growth and distribution within the various sub-basins from 1960 to 2010. The main sources of data for determining the variables used, i.e., population size, population density, settlement and urbanization, of the sub-basins, and their subsequent projection are derived from the Population Census Reports of Ghana, for 1960, 1970, 1984 and 2000. The study also examines the effect of population growth on three key natural resources (agricultural land, water and forest resources). Results show that there were increases in population, settlements and the level of urbanization in all the sub-basins of the Volta River in Ghana between 1960 and 2000. Projections also show that these increases will continue in the future. Also, population growth is causing shortfalls in agricultural land, deforestation and high demand on water resources in some of the sub-basins of the Volta River

Keywords: Population, Natural resources, Volta River Basin, Human Settlement Land Use/Coverage Change

Ghana Journal of Development Studies Vol. 3 (2) 2006: pp. 66-82
AJOL African Journals Online