SMEC, along with Surbana Jurong, has been engaged to carry out a masterplan study for the Lake Volta region. The project will deliver an integrated, long-term Regional Development Plan, exploring the economic potential of Lake Volta and surrounding areas while protecting its natural environment.

With more than three million people within a 100km2 catchment area, Lake Volta is a multi-potential resource for Ghana. As the largest artificial reservoir in the world based on surface area, guidance is needed to ensure sustainable environmental management of the area, and to progress sustainable urban, industrial, and socio-economic development.


Project inception meeting 1 December 2022


In 2016, SMEC parent company Surbana Jurong prepared a long-term plan for the transformation of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ), covering the northern half of Ghana. In 2022, SMEC Ghana identified an opportunity to extend the study to maximise value for the adjacent Lake Volta region.


Lake Volta is managed by the Volta River Authority (VRA). Currently, it is used to generate a substantial amount of Ghana’s electricity. It is also used for fisheries, irrigation, water transport, lake tourism, and other forest resources. The key objectives of the masterplan will cover urban development, infrastructure, local commerce, tourism, transport, agriculture, and ecology.


Map of the project area


The development of Lake Volta will further benefit and contribute to global competitiveness of agricultural and industrial products from the northern parts of Ghana to its neighbours.

The scope for the master plan includes:

  • Taking stock of existing socio-economic activities as well as the potential of Lake Volta for water transport, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry (including agroforestry), related downstream processing industries, logistics facilities and tourism
  • Assessing sensitive environmental assets and zones related to lake volta such as wetlands, forests, national parks, other natural areas, water bodies, flora and fauna and proposing protection measures and usability conditions to extract full potential along with environmental protection
  • Analysing urban settlements/key rural communities with high growth potential along Lake Volta, their roles, and possible urban expansions, and defining clear areas for urbanization
  • Assessing the existing and potential water and land transport, connectivity, and other infrastructure conditions in and around the Lake
  • Reviewing, analysing, and integrating relevant aspects of previous plans and studies related to Lake Volta.
  • Conducting multi-stakeholder consultations to understand opportunities and challenges of Lake Volta development.
  • Developing Strategic Framework for the agreed Vision and preparing the Regional Structure Plan guiding the opportunities of urban, industrial growth nodes along the Lake Volta shore.
  • Preparing an Urban/Rural area master plan with detailed land use distribution for pilot urban activation nodes
  • Preparing the entire geo-database (in GIS) of all key land use features in and around Lake Volta.


Views of Lake Volta


SMEC’s proposal included detailed technical and financial analysis of the region, and local knowledge. The project execution will be a collaborative effort between SMEC International, SMEC South Africa, and Surbana Jurong. The master plan is expected to be completed by 31 January 2024.


From VRA Chairman: Mr Tutu Agyare

“For 60 years the Volta River Authority has shared a legal responsibility for all that happens on Lake Volta. We look forward to working with SMEC and their team to develop a holistic plan for the lake’s future, which safeguards local communities. Undertaking a detailed commercial study is the first step in understanding the potential of the lake and opportunities for sustainable growth.”


From Functional Manager (Urban Development) Mr. Paulo Trindade

“We have a team combining International Experience and Local knowledge to work together with VRA to identify gaps and solutions to improve the well-being of the local communities living for and from the lake, identifying and setting enablers to boost the local economy and establishing links across the natural barrier that the lake is still today, improving connectivity between and within communities and economic activities.”


Project inception meeting 1 December 2022