Ghana is a West African country located along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. On land, it borders three countries, namely Burkina Faso, Togo, and Cote d’Ivore. Ghana covers an area of 238,533 square kilometers and is slightly smaller than the State of Oregon. The country is home to the world’s largest artificial lake or manmade reservoir by surface area, which covers 8,462 square kilometers (3,272 sq miles). Lake Volta was created in 1965 after the completion of the Akosombo Dam which holds back the Black Volta and White Volta rivers. The storage capacity of Lake Volta is 124,000,000 acre-feet (153,000,000,000 cubic meters). Ghana has experienced rapid urbanization in the last few decades, a phenomenon that is evident with the rapid growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Over the last thirty years, Ghana’s population in towns and cities has more than tripled, from 4 million to nearly 14 million, exceeding growth in the rural areas. The biggest cities in Ghana are Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Sunyani, Tamale, Obuasi, and Cape Coast.
Biggest Cities In Ghana
Accra, the capital city of Ghana, has for long been Ghana’s largest city, although Kumasi has rapidly cut into its lead in recent years. The city is also the capital of the Greater Accra Region and Accra Metropolitan District. Found along the coast, the city was built around three different settlements, and was the capital of the British Gold Coast from 1877 to 1957 when the British granted the colony its independence. The City’s architecture is a testament to its history, with Nineteenth Century architecture buildings side by side with modern high rises. Accra is the Greater Accra Region’s economic and administrative hub, with its central business district containing banks, department stores, and Ghana’s government administrative offices. Economic activities in Accra include financial and commercial sectors, manufacturing of processed food, fishing, and textiles. In 2012, the total population of Accra was 2,291,352. The city has a youthful population, with 56% of its population in 2012 being under 24. Around 51% of the total population is female, and approximately 45% of the Accra residents are immigrants from other African countries. Accra is comprised by a mix of low-income areas such as Osu and Jamestown, and high-income areas such as North Ridge, West Ridge, and Ringway Estates. It is a popular tourist destination, with hotels, nightclubs, monuments. The grave of W.E.B. Dubois and the mausoleum of Kwame Nkrumah are both found in the city. Climate change and rise in sea level affect this coastal city. Population growth puts pressure on Accra and its drainage and infrastructure is particularly at risk.
Kumasi is a city in the Ashanti Region and is one of the largest metropolitan regions in Ghana. In 2012, the population of Kumasi stood at 2,069,350. It is the commercial, industrial, and cultural capital of Asanteman. It is a city whose history goes back to antiquity, and it is not known when it was built. It came to prominence in 1695 when it became the capital of the Ashanti Confederacy under the Ashanti ruler Osei Tutu. It is home to Fort Kumasi, the Kumasi hat museum, and the Kumasi Cultural Centre. The economy of the city is supported by the service industry, manufacturing, and mining. The main products of the city are gold, cocoa, and hardwood.
The urban area is comprised by the twin cities of Sekondi and Takoradi. It is the capital of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan District, and of the Western Region of Ghana. It is the region’s largest city and an industrial and commercial hub, with a population in 2012 of 445,205. The primary industries are cocoa processing, timber, and shipbuilding. Sekondi, the older twin city, was the site of the Dutch Fort Orange and the English Fort Sekondi and prospered due to a railway built in 1903, while Takoradi was the site of Fort Witsen. Sekondi-Takoradi has an important deep water seaport, the first in Ghana, constructed in 1928. The two cities combined in 1948. It is today unofficially called Ghana’s oil city after the discovery of oil in the Western region, attracting large numbers of immigrants from around the world. The population of the city is overwhelmingly Christian. It has beaches and an annual street carnival which are popular with tourists.
Sunyani is the capital of the Brong-Ahafo Region, and of the Sunyani Municipality. In 2012, its population stood at 248,496. Surrounded by the forested Southern Ashanti Uplands, Sunyani began as an outpost for elephant hunters in the Nineteenth Century, and afterward the British government made it district headquarters. It became an important hub for distributing cocoa, kola nuts, maize, and yams, after the construction of a road connecting to Kumasi. It is a rapidly growing city and has engulfed the suburbs of Fiapre, Abesim, and others. Sunyani has an agricultural economy, with 48% of the population's workforce practicing agriculture, 24% working in the service sector, 15% in the commerce sector, and 13% in manufacturing industries. The growth of the city is a result of the quality water supply. Voted as Ghana’s cleanest city in 2007, Sunyani is a clean and well-maintained with a thriving economy. It has many hotels and restaurants. The most prominent building is Cocoa House, which dominates its skyline. Kintampo Waterfalls and Boabeng Monkey Sanctuary are only a short distance away.
Dealing With Rapid Urbanization In Ghana
In recent years, Ghana has suffered the effects of rapid urbanization, such as roadway traffic congestion, limited access to services, uncontrolled urban expansion, and limited access to affordable housing, and its institutions often find themselves incapable of handling the rapid growth. The urban population is 54% of the total population in the country, and the annual growth rate averaged 3.4% from 2010 to 2015. Urbanization has been one of the vital processes of transforming all societies and all over the world urbanization is synonymous with economic development, modernization, cultural innovation, and social progress. However, the type of urban development in Ghana, in a fashion similar to that in most other Sub-Saharan countries, seriously constrains the productivity of the urban centers and poverty, congestion, overcrowding, pollution, and lack of affordable housing undermines the growth of cities.