Accra is the capital and largest city of Ghana, with an estimated urban population of 2.27 million. It is also the capital of the Greater Accra Region and of the Accra Metropolitan District, with which it is coterminous.
Accra stretches along the Ghanaian Atlantic coast and extends north into Ghana's interior. Originally built around a port, it served as the capital of the British Gold Coast between 1877 and 1957. Once merely a 19th-century suburb of Victoriaborg, Accra has since transitioned into a modern metropolis; the city's architecture reflects this history, ranging from 19th-century architecture buildings to modern skyscrapers and apartment blocks.
Accra serves as the Greater Accra region's economic and administrative hub. It is furthermore a centre of a wide range of nightclubs, restaurants, and hotels.
Since the early 1990s, a number of new buildings have been built, including the multi-storey French-owned Novotel hotel. The city's National Theatre was built with Chinese assistance. In 2010, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network designated Accra a Gamma-minus-level world city, indicating a growing level of international influence and connectedness.
|POPULATION :||City: 2,291,352 / Metro: 4,000,000|
|FOUNDED :||15th century / Incorporated (city) 1961|
|TIME ZONE :||English (official), Asante , Ewe , Fante , Boron , Dagomba , Dangme , Dagarte|
|LANGUAGE :||English (official), Asante , Ewe , Fante , Boron , Dagomba , Dangme , Dagarte|
|RELIGION :||Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic, Protestant , Catholic, other ), Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 6.8%|
|AREA :||173 km2 (67 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||61 m (200 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||5°33′N 0°12′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49% |
• Female: 51%
|ETHNIC :||Akan 47.5%, Mole-Dagbon 16.6%, Ewe 13.9%, Ga-Dangme 7.4%, Gurma 5.7%, Guan 3.7%, Grusi 2.5%, other 2.7%|
|AREA CODE :||030|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+233 30|
Accra is the Greater Accra region's tourist hub, sporting a wide variety of hotels, monuments, museums and nightclubs. The city has three five-star hotels: the Labadi Beach Hotel, the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel and the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel. The Accra International Conference Centre and other meeting facilities provide venues for conference tourism.
Accra furthermore hosts the National Museum, National Theatre, with its distinctive modern Chinese architecture.
The city's foremost historical site is the Jamestown area, which contains the Ussher Fort and James Fort, and Osu Castle (also known as Christiansborg), built by Danish settlers in the 17th century.
Other sites of note include The Flagstaff House (the office of the Government of Ghana and the President of Ghana), the Parliament House of Ghana, the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, the Black Star Square, Accra Sports Stadium, and the Accra Centre for National Culture.
The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, which was founded in 1943 as the Apostolic Prefecture of Accra. The cathedral itself dates to 1947.
Accra has an Atlantic beachfront and the most popular of the city's beaches is Labadi Beach, along with Kokrobite Beach, which is located 25 kilometres west of Accra. The beachfront area also houses the Academy of African Music and Arts.
Founded in the 17th century by the Ga people. The main Ga group known as the Tumgwa We led by Ayi Kushie arrived by sea. When the Guan (Lartehs) on the coast saw them on their canoes at sea, they looked like ants. Hence, the Lartehs refer to them as Nkran (ants). Nkran was later corrupted by the Danes to Akra, then to present-day Accra.
Initially, Accra was not the most prominent trading centre; the trade hubs of the time were the ports at Ada and Prampram, along with the inland centres of Dodowa and Akusa. The Dutch built the nearby outposts of James Fort and Ussher Fort. By the 17th century, Portugal, followed by the Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Britain, and Denmark, had constructed forts in the city.
Britain gradually acquired the interests of all other countries beginning in 1851, when Denmark sold Christiansborg and their other forts to the British. The Netherlands was the last to sell out, in 1871. In 1873, after decades of tension between the British and Akans of south Ghana, the British attacked and virtually destroyed the Ashanti Region capital of Kumasi. The British then captured Accra in 1874, and in 1877, at the end of the second Anglo-Asante War, Accra replaced Cape Coast as the capital of the British Gold Coast.
One of the most influential decisions in the history of the city was that of building the Accra-Kumasi railway in 1908. This was to connect Accra, the country's foremost port at that time, with Ghana's main cocoa-producing regions. In 1923, the railway was completed, and by 1924, cocoa was Ghana's largest export.
When Kwame Nkrumah became Ghana's first postindependence Prime Minister in 1957, he created his own plan for Accra's development. Instead of creating spaces to serve the elite, Nkrumah sought to create spaces to inspire pride and nationalism in his people and people throughout Africa.
Accra features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a semiarid climate.
The average annual rainfall is about 730 mm, which falls primarily during Ghana's two rainy seasons. The chief rainy season begins in April and ends in mid-July, whilst a weaker second rainy season occurs in October.
Very little variation in temperature occurs throughout the year. The mean monthly temperature ranges from 24.7 °C (76.5 °F) in August (the coolest) to 28 °C (82.4 °F) in March (the hottest), with an annual average of 26.8 °C (80.2 °F).
Climate data for Accra
|Average high °C (°F)||32.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||28.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||24.7|
Central Accra is compact, centered on the historical British, Danish, and Dutch forts. Over the years, however, with immigration from rural areas, the city has expanded with no regard to zoning, giving it a sprawled attribute. The city of Accra has a total area of 173 km2 (67 sq mi), and is the anchor city of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), which is made up of the Accra Metropolitan District, Tema Metropolitan District, Ga South Municipal District, Ga East Municipal District, Ga West Municipal District, Adenta Municipal District, Ashaiman Municipal District, Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal District, and the town of Kasoa in the Awutu Senya District of the Central Region.
The intersection of the Lafa stream and Mallam junction serves as the western border of the city. The Great Hall of the University of Ghana forms Accra's northern border, while the Nautical College forms the eastern border. The Gulf of Guinea forms the southern border. These borders notwithstanding, points of conflict with adjoining districts exist, resulting in a de facto shrinking of the city limits in recent years.
Accra is a centre for manufacturing, marketing, finance, insurance, and transportation. Its financial sector incorporates a central bank, nine commercial banks (with 81 branches), four development banks (with 19 branches), four merchant banks (with seven branches), three discount houses, one home finance mortgage bank, multiple building societies, Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), foreign exchange bureauxs, finance houses, insurance companies, insurance brokerage firms, two savings and loans companies, and numerous real estate developers, with industrial sites and residential developments.
The sectors of Accra's economy consist of the primary, secondary (manufacturing, electricity, gas, water, construction) and tertiary sectors (supermarkets, shopping malls, hotel, restaurant, transportation, storage, communication, financial intermediation, real estate service, public administration, education, health and other social services). The tertiary service sector is the city's largest, employing about 531,670 people. The second-largest, the secondary sector, employs 22.34% of the labor force, or around 183,934 people. 12.2% of the city's workforce are reportedly unemployed, totalling around 114,198 people.
The Ring Road, extending from the Korle Lagoon in the west, north to Kwame Nkrumah Circle, following east to the juncture of Independence Avenue, and continuing on to Osu, forms a ring around the oldest districts of Accra, and separates central Accra from the outlying suburbs.
Central Accra includes the CBD, which consists of the historic districts of Usshertown, Tudu, Victoriaborg,West Ridge, and East Ridge, as well as the historic residential districts of Jamestown, Adabraka, Asylum Down, North Ridge and Christiansborg/Osu.
Although satellite business districts such as the Airport City have been established across the city, Central Accra remains the administrative and cultural centre of Accra, hosting government ministries, hotels, businesses, and financial institutions.
Central Accra's principal attractions include the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the National Museum,Independence Square, the National Theatre, and the Ohene Djan Stadium.
Northern Accra is a residential and business district. The area contains the "37" Military Hospital, The Flagstaff House, several foreign embassies, Achimota School, Achimota Golf Park, and the University of Ghana's Legon campus, which serves as Accra's northern boundary.
Geographically, the areas north of Ring Road West and Central, east of Winneba/Graphic Road, west of Liberation Road, and the districts just north and south of the Kwame Nkrumah motorway are regarded as Northern Accra.
Eastern Accra is largely residential, and geographically north of Ring Road East, stretching as far north as Kwame Nkrumah Motorway; the district is bordered to the west by Liberation Road.
Western Accra is largely a residential and business area. Whilst geographically less expansive than the northern and eastern reaches of the city as a result of the large saltponds of Tettegu and Aplaku, it nonetheless boasts one of Accra's most important landmarks, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Geographically, the areas west of Ring Road West, extending as far west as the saltponds and south of Graphic Road, are considered Accra West.