The project was opened in 1969 and lies in a remote, thinly populated, and very poor part of Nigeria.
The dam is 66 meters high and 55 meters long and has produced a man-made lake behind it known as lake Kainji (130 km long and 1300 kilometers square).
The following are factors that have favoured the establishment of Kainji dam project:
- The sparse population of the area, allowing cheap compensation of the displaced people.
- The need to provide hydroelectric power for domestic and industrial use. Hence there was a large market for hydroelectricity which encouraged the establishment
- Presence of adequate capital for the construction and maintenance of the project from the government of Nigeria, world bank, Italy, Britain, the United States of America, and the Netherlands
- The presence of the Niger river with a large volume of water that is sufficient water supply to generate power
- Presence of waterfalls – the fast flow of water to turn turbines and generate power
- The presence of narrow gorges at the place (that is a narrow gap as the Niger River flows through a low line of the plateau) – which increases the water pressure behind the dam to generate power.
- The presence of hard basement rock which offered a firm foundation for the construction of the dam
- A supportive government policy to develop multipurpose schemes to promote economic growth such as by mobilizing funds for the construction of dam projects
- High level of technology used in the setting up of the project such as the use of large turbines to generate power.