An evolutionary study of production of electricity in Ghana (1900–1960s)

History of Science and Technology 16 (1):10-33 (2020)
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Abstract
The literature on the history of electricity production have studied the evolution of electricity in both developed and developing countries and its impact on their economies. Some have laid foundations upon which other works are carried out. A close examination of historiography and multidisciplinary research on electricity production in Ghana shows that more efforts are required to improve the electric power landscape in Ghana. From the colonial era, the increasing demand for electricity has been the biggest challenge plaguing the energy sector. Respective governments have made significant strides in ensuring reliable and universal access to electricity throughout Ghana, yet such efforts have been accompanied by different levels of challenges. The study uses a qualitative and exploratory research approach to trace the activities that helped, in many other ways to the creation of a sustainable electric power provision to household and industry in Ghana, particularly in two of Ghana’s cities; Accra and Kumasi, within the period 1900 to the1960s. The work focused mainly on archival sources in its quest to arrive at how indigenous Ghanaians provided power for industrial activities and for household purposes. Results from the study show that local and cottage industries relied predominantly on wood, fuel, and biomass for their operations even before the introduction of the more sophisticated means of power generation. Also, the study revealed that in finding solutions to the challenges of electricity production, policymakers have focused more on current issues with little or no effort to trace the historical foundation of electricity production. This notwithstanding, the little efforts that have been made examined the history of energy production, with a limited focus on the immediate post-independence era.
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