Accra is the capital and the administrative and economic center of Ghana. The region is located on the Gulf of Guinea near the Atlantic Ocean, and its estimated population rose to 2.28 million, making Accra the largest city in Ghana.
The city features a very marginal hot semi-arid climate that borders on a tropical savannah climate and it is located partly on a cliff, which makes the area’s susceptibility to occasional earthquakes.
In the late thirteenth century, Ghana was inhabited by a number of ancient kingdoms. Accra became its nation's capital in 1877 and nowadays the city contains a number of public buildings reflecting its transition. Today, Accra is one of the wealthiest and most modern cities on the African continent, although as many other modern cities, it does contain its share of slums, congestion, pollution, and poverty. These are issues that city and national leaders are currently trying to address.
Data and Facts
- The word Accra is derived from the Akan word Nkran meaning "ants", a reference to the numerous anthills seen in the countryside around Accra.
- From 1877 to 1957, Accra served as the capital of the British Gold Coast, a period of almost 80 years. At the time, the city was rather small and just a suburb of Victoriaborg.
- Head of the State: President Nana Akufo-Addo, since 2017
- Country motto: Freedom and Justice
- Currency: Ghanaian cedi (GHC)
- Ghana GDP US$ 68.3; US$ 6,998 per capita
- Median Age: 21.2 years. The population in Accra is one of the youngest in the world. 56% of the entire population is currently under 24 years old
- Language: The official language in Ghana is English although there are more than 80 different languages in the region. The people who live in the Greater Accra Region also speak Ga and Dangbe
- Religion: 73.6 % Christianity, 17.5% Islam, 3.8% unaffiliated, 4.9% folk.
The Accra Metropolitan Area is one of the five districts that make up the Greater Accra Region, which is the smallest of the constitutional democracy of Ghana's ten administrative regions.
Under the local government system, each district, municipal or metropolitan area, is administered by a chief executive, representing central government but deriving authority from an assembly headed by a presiding member elected from assembly members.
Osu Castle, formerly known as Christianborg Castle and built in 1659, has been the seat of Government since the early 1920s.
In 2008, the World Bank estimated that Accra's economy only constituted around US$3 billion of Ghana's total gross domestic product.
Accra is a centre for manufacturing, marketing, finance, insurance, and transportation.
The economy of the city is very varied among the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. The tertiary service sector is the city's largest, employing about 531,670 people. It is mainly based on supermarkets, shopping malls, hotels, restaurant, transportation, storage, communication, financial intermediation, real estate service, public administration, education, health and other social services.
The second-largest, the secondary sector, employs 22.34% of the labour force and it lies on manufacturing, electricity, gas, water and construction industries.
The predominant economic activities of the primary sector, the smallest of the city, are fishery and urban agriculture, being the fishery industry the most important sub sector with 10% of the catch being exported and the rest consumed locally.
With more than three million inhabitants, Accra is among Africa’s largest cities in a region undergoing one of the continent’s fastest rates of urbanization. Rapid inmigration, both from the countryside and also from other West African nations, has brought a series of transformations to Accra’s urban economy, and with them, new challenges that influence local policy makers’ decisions.
Ghana, like many other sub-Saharan countries, has experienced a prolonged period of economic growth over the past 20 years, due to a series of internal and external factors that have influenced productivity and terms of trade.
As the national capital and one of the largest cities in West Africa, Accra has a significant capacity to attract migrants and business activity from across the region, making the city the administrative, economic, and educational center of Ghana.
Accra contains the head offices of all banks, trading firms, insurance companies, the electricity corporation, and the post office.
Its financial sector incorporates a central bank, nine commercial banks, four development banks, four merchant banks, three discount houses, one home finance mortgage bank, multiple building societies, Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), foreign exchange bureaus, finance houses, insurance companies, insurance brokerage firms, two savings and loans companies, and numerous real estate developers, with industrial sites and residential developments.
Transportation by road is the major form of transportation in Accra. The rail system is still not very effective and It is not common to see trains in town.
Accra has an extensive taxi network and numerous taxi ranks, but most taxis lack a meter system, so price negotiation is required between the passenger and driver. The most common form of transport in Accra are tro tros, motor vehicles re-purposed for passenger transport.
Accra is served by Kotoka International Airport, which has both civil and military uses.There are plans to build a second airport to relieve the aviation pressure on the Kotoka International Airport; it will be located at Prampram in Accra and will be constructed by China Airport Civil Construction.
Ghana has always been an epitome of technological growth in Africa. Now with Accra as the focus, it is clear that Ghana has a promising future as the most advanced country in the continent. Indeed, there are things that hinder technological progress in Accra like the fact that the city is a very safe place to live full of a young vibrant population. Ghana has had smooth transitions of governments and the two major religious entities, Christians and Muslims, get along well.
One of the major positives Accra and Ghana has, is its ability to embrace technology in any form. Accra serves as the home to many tech firms and startups. It hosts companies such as mPedigree, who validate pharmaceuticals’ provenance, Rancard co-owned by Intel who provide information services over SMS to telecommunication companies in the region.
There is also Busy Internet, an early player in the local ISP scene, Impact Hub Ghana, an incubator for tech startups, and Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) which offers end-to-end IT training, mentorship and funding to software startups. And of course, countless government and private firms using technology one way or the other to run their business.
Accra, in particular, is a host for huge international firms like Google, Nestle, Unilever, Guinness, Vodafone, Shell, KPMG, Deloitte, Samsung and more.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
In Ghana, most health care is provided by the government and is largely administered by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Services. The healthcare system has five levels of providers: health posts, health centers and clinics, district hospitals, regional hospitals and tertiary hospitals. Health posts are the first level of primary care for rural areas.
The Ghanaian education system is divided in three parts: Basic Education, secondary cycle and tertiary education. Basic Education lasts 12 years and is free and compulsory. The junior high school(JHS) ends with the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and Tertiary education has been notably growing during the last twenty years, both in terms of enrollment and infrastructures
Among the attractions of Accra are the National Museum, with a display of exhibits that reflect the heritage of Ghana from prehistoric to modern times, the National Theatre with its distinct modern architecture, Independence Square, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the Accra International Conference Centre, the fishing port at Jamestown, and Makola Market.
There are many styles of traditional and modern music of Ghana, due to Ghana's cosmopolitan geographic position on the African continent. The best known modern genre originating in Ghana is Highlife.
Football is the most popular sport in Accra. The most famous football club in the city is Accra Hearts of Oak.