Map of Ghana
GHANA AT A GLANCE
Ghana, is a west African country, bounded on the north by Burkina Faso, on the east by Togo, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean,and on the west by Cote d'Ivoire.
Formerly a British colony known as the Gold Coast, was led to independence by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the 6th of March, 1957.
Ghana became the first black nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence from colonial rule.
The country is named after the ancient empire of Ghana, from which the ancestors of the inhabitants of the present country are thought to have migrated.
The Republic of Ghana lies almost in the centre of the countries along the Gulf of Guinea (the West African coast). Its southern coast extends between latitudes 4½° North at Cape Three Points and 6½° North in the extreme east and is thus not far from the Equator. From the coast, the country extends inland to about latitude 11° North covering a distance of 672 kilometres from South to North. The distance across the widest part from east to west measures 536 kilometres. The country has a total land area of 239,460 square kilometres.
To the east if Ghana lies the Republic of Togo, beyond which are Benin and Nigeria. On the west is La Cפte d'Ivoire and on the north is Burkina Faso. Ghana's coastline is 560 kilometres of mainly sandy beaches.
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND DRAINAGE
The country had tropical vegetation of dense tropical rain forest which tails off into savanna and grassland towards the north and the coast. There are a few mountains and several hills rising to a height of 900 metres and above. The highest mountain, Afadzato, is 1,500 metres above sea level . Several big rivers criss-cross the country, the most import being the River Volta which has been dammed at Akosombo and Akuse for two hydro-electric power generation plants. The large lake formed is navigable for a distance of about 400 km and motor vessels now ply its waters carrying passengers and goods from the south of the country to the north and vice versa. Other big rivers are the Pra, Ankobra and Tano. Among the smaller rivers are the Densu and Ayensu which provide Winneba and parts of the capital, Accra, with pipe-borne water. The largest natural lake in the country is Bosomtwi with a total area of 48 square kilometres and reaching depths of 72 metres in some parts.
ADMINISTRATIVE REGIONS OF GHANA
The Ashanti Region with Kumasi as its capital lies between longitude 0÷ 15'- 2÷ west and latitude 5÷ 50' - 7÷ 40'north. The region shares common boundaries with four others - Brong-Ahafo to the north, Eastern Region to the east, Central Region to the south and Western Region to the west. It occupies an area of 24,390 square kilometres.
The most significant physical feature is the horse -shoe range of hills running eastward to form part of the main mountain range in the country, i.e. the Koforidua - Kintampo range.
The region is drained by the Anum. Pra. Offin and Afram rivers. Lake Bosumtwi
which lies 28km south-east of Kumasi occupies an area of 48 square kilometres.
The vegetation is broadly divided into two distinct types: the greater part of the region, south of the mountain range is covered by semi-deciduous forest. North - east of the region is the guinea savanna woodland.
The largest portion of the semi-deciduous forest and the guinea savanna areas are covered by forest and savanna ochrosols. However , along the Afram River, there is a narrow strip of ground water laterite intergrades.
The dominant economic activity in the region is agriculture. Other activities undertaken include mining, timber processing and industry.
Cocoa is the most important export crop grown in the region; the heaviest production areas are at Ahafo-Ano and Adansi.
Cotton production is concentrated in the savanna and transitional zones mainly around Ejura, Nsuta, Kwamang and Afrancho.
Bast fibre is produced in significant quantities at Mampong, Ejura, Kofiase, Adidwan, Aframso and Amanten.
Oil palm is grown all over the southern sector of the forest zone with concentrations in the Amansie, Asante-Akim, Adansi and Ejisu - Juaben districts.
Food crops grown include maize, plantain, cocoyam, cassava, yam groundnuts and vegetables.
Gold, which is the next major foreign exchange earner after cocoa, is mined at Obuasi which is the largest and richest gold mine in the country. Although it has been mined for several years, it is still believed to have large reserves. Other deposits are found at Konongo-Benemase, Attonsu, Kwakwakwa, Ntronang, Bilpraw and Akrokerri- Mampamhwe.
There are deposits of bauxite at Nyinahin and diamonds and clay in various parts of the region.
The region is inhabited mainly by Ashantis who speak the Twi language. All the paramount chiefs are under Otumfuo, the Supreme head of all the paramount chiefs in the Ashanti confederacy. In their own traditional areas, however, the chiefs are semi-autonomous. This makes the Kumasi Division function in a dual capacity. On the one hand, it is one of the divisions with the Ashantehene as its divisional a chief. On the other hand,the Kumasi Division is the focal point of the union with the head of the division, Otumfuo the Asantehene , as the Supreme head of the whole confederation. Kumasi is the seat of the National House of chiefs.
The size of the Eastern Region is 19,223 square kilometres and lies between longitudes 1°20'W and latitudes 0°17'E. Its vegetation is mainly secondary forest, but savanna grassland can be found in the Afram Plains, the Yilo-Manya Krobo and the Asuogyaman districts.
The relief of the region is dominated by the Akwapin Highlands, the kwahu Plateau and the Atewa - Atewiredu Range near Kibi. These highlands form a deep gap which the Volta River occupies and forms a major drainage system with the Birim, Pra.Ayensu and Densu rivers in the south serving as mainstreams.
The region shares boundaries with the volta and greater Accra Regions to the south, Ashanti Region to the east, Brong-Ahafo to the north and Central Region to the west. Between April and September each year, areas around the Akwapim and the Kwahu Ranges in the region experience very cold weather similar to that of the temperature zones of the world.
Photo: Aburi Botanical Gardens in the Eastern Region, about one hour's drive from Accra.
The dominant economic activity in the region is agriculture. Other activities undertaken include petty trading, inland fishing and mining. Crop and livestock production are the main activities found in most rural communities of the region. There are also commercial farms producing pineapples, colanut, cocoa, coffee and oil palm on a large-scale for export. Towns and villages dotted along the Volta Lake undertake canoe fishing for a living.
Industrial establishments are located in various towns in the region. The factories produce drugs, lumber, poultry feeds, alcoholic beverages, furniture, textiles and other hardware.
Diamond, which is a major foreign exchange earner for the country, is mined at Akwatia in the Birim South district. Diamond mining at Akwatia attracted many settlers to Oda, Akwatia and the surrounding villages, a situation, which has contributed to the rapid development of the area. The consolidated Diamond Mines at Akwatia has become a tourist attraction.
The Akwapims and Kwahus, who are Akans and the Krobos are the main ethnic groups found in the region. There are eleven traditional areas each with a paramount chief who exercises local authority through his Traditional Council.
Festivals are a major cultural, social and political activity observed by the various ethnic groups. Odwira, Adaekese, Ohum, Kotokro, and Nmayem are some of the festivals which the people celebrate between September and November each year.
The festivals are occasions for metry-making and remembrance of dead relatives and ancestors. The chiefs and people of the communities also use the occasions to plan development projects.
Brong-Ahafo Region falls within longitude 0°15' east to 3° west and latitude 8°45' north to 7°30' north. It covers an area of 39,557 square kilometres and is bounded on the north by Northern Region, on the south by Ashanti and Western Regions, on the east by Volta Region and on the south-east by Eastern Region. It has an international boundary to the west, which it shares with La Cפte d'Ivoire.
The land rises from an average height of 500ft in the southern and eastern parts to an average height of 2'100 ft above sea level in the northern parts around Wenchi. The northern parts of the region are dominated by the Black Volta River and Volta lake. Other prominents rivers are Tain, Bia, Pra and Tano rivers. These rivers and their numerous tributaries cover many areas of the region.
The vegetation is mainly forests and semi-deciduous forests in the south-eastern parts and guinea savanna woodland to the east and north.
Photo: Lake Volta
Agriculture is the main economic activity in the region. The region has a total cultivable land area of 30,400 square kilometres out of which 3,706 square kilometres is planted with cocoa. About 71% of the region's population is concentrated in farming. Crops grown include plantain, oil palm, maize and oranges.
Industrialisation is expanding with the extension of hydro-electric power to the region. Presently, notable industries include: Mim Tomber Company and Scanstype Limited both based at Mim, which produce semi-processed wood products; Wenchi Tomato factory; a stone quarry at Buoku; brick and tile factories at Adantia and Tanoso; and numerous sawmills scattered all over the region.
Brong-Ahafo, as the name implies, is made up mainly of Brongs and Ahafos. There are also other minor ethnic groups that speak the Brong dialect only as a second language. These are the Gur-speaking people in the north-western corner of the Brong area, the Mo-Degha-speaking people of New Longoro as well as the Mande-speaking peoples consisting of the Ligby of Banda and Kintampo and the Hwela and Numu of Namasa and Nsawkaw.
Chieftaincy and traditional matters in the region are handled by the regional house of chiefs, which is composed of 43 members.
The Central Region covers an area of about 9,826 kilometres and is located along the littoral region of the country. It lies between the major industrial regions of the Western, Ashanti and Greater Accra and the agricultural Eastern Region. It is bordered on the south by a coastline of 160 kilometres.
The region's vegetation is in twofold: the dry coastal savanna and the wet rain forest with about one-tenth of the land mass forming various reserved forests. Some of these forests are said to have provided the natural habitat for rare and exotic species of animals.
Photo: Elmina Castle - Central Region.
The economy of the Central Region rests largely on a small-holder, more or less traditional agriculture, inland and small-scale fisheries and related activities along the coast.
The United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) assistance was sought to accelerate the development of the Region and this led to a proposal for Tourism (as lead sector), Urban/Rural Environment and Enterprise development.
The tourism development component involves investments in various areas of tourism development including conservation of the region's vast cultural and historical assets and sites, i.e. conservation and rehabilitation of forts, castles and monuments, the establishment of a unique game park at Kakum and Assin Attandanso that will conserve the tropical rain forest environment and rare wildlife conservation for tourism and travel industry development.
The development programme includes the rehabilitation of Elmina / Mumford Jetty and boat sanctuary, improved facilities for fish handling, curing and processing, a marine stock research centre at the UCC and the construction of ice-making and freezing facilities. Promotion of fishing and export of exotic fish products and pilot scheme for shrimp, lobster and squid farming are also aspects of the UNESCO assisted development scheme.
Other expansion of tree crop farming (fruits for export and to support tourism industry, agro-forestry), creation of farmers services companies and small-holder salt production scheme.
The urban/rural renewal component include improvements to coastal and tourism towns and general rehabilitation of basic services including waste management. Those under enterprise development component involves support for the region's Intermediate Technology Transfer Unit (ITTU) to support for the expansion of the informal sector's chain of micro-entrepreneurs, small-scale salt and allied chemical production, Kaolin and allied products, small-scale gold mining and the establishment of palm oil/kernel refinery.
Consequent to the approval of these proposals the Government and the UNDP have signed the projects document and implementation of the development plan will soon take off.
The Central Region has 32 traditional areas and therefore 32 para-mountcies. These traditional councils are responsible for matters relating to customs and culture and for settling chieftaincy disputes.
The rich culture of the region is very much displayed during the celebration of the numerous festivals that are organized in many parts of the region. Prominent among these festivals are the Fetu Afahye of the people of Oguaa Traditional Area, the Bakatue festival of the people of Elmina, the Aboakyer festival of the people of Effutu traditional area and the Okyir festival of the people of Anomabu.
GREATER ACCRA REGION
Greater Accra Region,the smallest of all the ten regions in the country, is situated in the south-central part of Ghana. It shares borders with the Eastern Region to the north, the Volta Region to the east and Central Region to the west. It has coastline stretching from Kokrobite in the west to Ada in the east. The region covers an area of about 3,245 square km (1,753sq.miles)
The Greater Accra Region is predominantly a low-lying undulating coastal plain with heights scarcely reaching more than 250 feet above sea level except where the topography is broken by hills and steep-sided inselbergs. On the north -eastern part of the region are the shai Hills which rise to about 1,000 feet. On the western end are the rounded low hills of between 400-500 feet found on the Togo series and the Cape Coast formations. A section of the Akwapim Ranges intrudes into the eastern half of the region with heights rising to about 700 feet.
Apart from the Densu River which flows into the sea along the eastern, half of the region most rivers are small and seasonal. The Jaw Wuhu Onyasia, Nsaki, Palupa, Dawhenya and Mamahuma are the well - defined streams in the region. Most of these flow from the Akwapim Rangers into the sea. Along the outlets of most of these streams are the numerous lagoons such as the Sakumo, Gao, Korle,Kpeshie, Sangaw Loloi. etc. which are dotted al over the coast.
The vegetation of the region is of the coastal savanna grassland type. Occurring here and there within the savanna are thickets of forests along the stream courses and mangrove and swampy vegetation alonthe coastal lagoons. Along the priedmont of the Akwapim Ranges at the north-western section of the region can be found a gallery of forests and remnants of high forest vegetation.
Photo: Accra City (Capital of Ghana)- Greater Accra Region.
Photo: Labadi Beach - Greater Accra Region.
Origin and Population
The people of the region called the Ga/Dangmes are made up of the Gas, the Adas and the Krobos. Oral tradition has it that the Ga/ Dangmes came from Yorubaland in Southern Nigeria near the River Niger.
The people throughout the region observe similar customs based on patrilineal system of inheritance and have a chieftaincy system which is largely influenced by the Akan system.
In 1984, the Greater Accra Region had a population of 1,420.066 as compared to 903,447 in 1970. This gives an annual growth rate of 3.3% . Even though the region is the smallest in the country, it has the highest population density. In 1960, it had a population density of 167,278 in 1970 and 438 in 1984 respectively. It is worth noting that the population density for the whole country in 1984 was 51 persons per sq. km.
This very high population density in the region is due to the presence of Accra and Tema in the region. Accra had a population of 953,505 in 1984 and Tema 99,608. The two cities are the major industrial and commercial centres in the country, with Accra being the political capital, as well.
As one moves away from Accra and Tema to the rural areas of the region however, the population density reduces. This is due to the rural - urban migration because of poor socio-economic conditions in the rural areas. Thus the majority of people in the Greater Accra Region are urban dwellers.
By the 1984 census 83.5% of the total population in the region were urban dwellers as compared to 16.5% of rural dwellers.
The location of Accra and Tema in the region has made Greater Accra the industrial centre of the country. The region boasts of more than 200 major manufacturing industrial establishments employing some 22,060 persons. Most of these establishments including an oil refinery are located in Accra and Tema. For this reason the region consumes about 46.5% out of the total electricity generated in the whole country. Accra and Tema also are the largest market area for the country's manufactured products.
The location of the country's largest port at Tema, the relatively well developed infrastructure and good industrial atmosphere within Accra and Tema have undoubtedly helped to increase the growth of industrial establishments in the region.
Fishing plays a major part in the region's economy. There are about 30,000 fishermen in the region a third of the total number of fishermen in the country. Among the main fishing villages are Ada, Loi , Pute, Azianya, Accra, Teshie, Nungua, Tema, Kpone, Prampram, Bortianor, Ningo and Ahwiam. The commonest fish in the region are trigger, sole spade, cassava, burrito, sardine and seabream.
Fishing is controlled by the small-scale canoe fishermen, notwithstanding the construction of the fishing harbour in Tema and the emergence of such big fishing establishments as Mankoadze , State Fishing Corporation, Ocean Fisheries, Kaleawo Enterprise and Afko Fisheries.
Farming is a major economic activity of the rural areas of the region. Apart from the smalls-scale farms held by individual families there are some 20 commercial crop farms and 25 livestock farms. The main crops grown in the region are cassava, maize, groundnuts, vegetables, beans, cowpeas, coconut, pineapples, onions and shallots.
The region is among the few regions in the country where livestock are reared because the vegetation is mainly grassland and less infested by tsetse flies. Cattle are therefore reared in settlements around Agataw, Dawa, Afienya, Mobili, Gbecheli, Katamanso etc, in the central part of the region. There are, however, a few commercial ranches like the Bank of Ghana Cattle Ranch at Shai Hills and Sam & Sam Farms. The breed mostly reared is West African short-horn type which is small, hardy and resistant to ticks and drought, but takes six years to reach maturity. The rest of the livestock farming are mostly poultry, sheep and goats.
The Northern Region is the largest of the ten regions in terms of land mass covering about 70,384 sq.km, nearly one-third of Ghana's total land area. About 34,000 sq. km of the land is also inundated by the damming of the Volta River.
Photo: The Larabanga Mosque - The oldest mosque in Ghana dating back to the 13th century.
Farming forms the main occupation of about 70% of the people in the region. Among the crops grown are maize, rice sorghum, yams, tomatoes and tree crops such as sheanut, cotton and kapok. Rice is cultivated mainly in Walewale, Tamale, Damongo, Salaga and Yendi. Groundnut is cultivated extensively around Tamale, Bimbilla, Yendi and Walewale. Guinea corn is also grown extensively in the region. The cultivation of rice and groundnut is mostly done on commercial basis. Livestock rearing in the region forms an important part of the economic activity of the area.
Industry is agro-based, processing agricultural produce such as cotton seed into edible oil and sheanut into shea-butter .Several rice mills operate in the area. Non-agro industries are minimal in the region, mainly due to the poor mineral resource base of the area. However, feasibility studies indicate the availability of high quality limestone deposits at Bog-Da near Gambaga. This can be used in the manufacture of Portland cement. There are also substantial deposits of clay at Kukuo, Yong , Nabari, Kpaligu and Bewna. Bricks made from this clay are said to be suitable for the climatic conditions of the north.
Places of interest abount in the Northern Region and so are many customary and cultural practices. The Regional Centre for National Culture at Tamale and its craft shops, as well as the weaving industry at Jekarayili are some of the attractions for tourists. Handicrafts are a popular occupation of the people. Weaving , carving, tanning and pottery are still done using age-old traditional methods. The waterfalls of Dung and Nankpanduri are a year-long attar action while it is known that the Green wich Meridian runs through Yendi.
Festivals celebrated in the Northern Region include the bugum (fire festival), Damba, celebrated by the Dagomba, Gonja, Mamprusi and Nanumba and the Konyur Chugu.
UPPER EAST REGION
The Upper East Region together with the Upper West Region formerly formed a single Upper Region which was carved out of the former Northern Territories on July 1, 983 the Upper Region was further divided into the two Upper Regions.
The Upper East Region is situated in the north-eastern corner of Ghana, bounded on the north-eastern corner of Ghana, bounded on the north by the Republic of Burkina Faso, in the west by Upper West Region, in the south by the Northern Region and in the east by the Republic of Togo. It covers an area of 8,842sq. km., slightly more than 3% of the total land area of the country.
The region lies in the Sudan savanna belt which features short grass and shrubs interspersed with a few trees. The vegetation generally becomes slightly luxurious where soil and moisture conditions permit, usually along water courses.
Photo: The Paga Crocodile Pond located at the north-east border - Northern Region.
The region is predominantly agricultural with about 70% of the economically active population engaged in livestock rearing, farming or fishing. Food crops cultivated are rice, millet, sorghum and groundnuts.
Areas with the greatest potential for agricultural development are the Gbedemblisi and Wiesi valleys. The valleys are the "rice bowl" of the region with high potential also for the cultivation of cotton, groundnuts,and legumes.
The region has two big irrigation projects located at Tono and Vea with developed areas covering 2,490 ha. And 850 ha. Respectively. Crops grow include paddy rice, tomatoes, onions, millet, groundnuts, sorghum and maize. There are other 172 dams and dugouts scattered over the region.
Having predominantly savanna vegetation, the region possesses the basic natural requirements for livestock and poultry production. The region produces about 25%of the nation's cattle herd and a sizeable percentage of sheep and goats.
The three major manufacturing establishments in the region are the Tomato Canning Factory at Pwalugu, the Meat Processing Factory at Zuarungu and the Rice Mill in Bolgatanga. There are also a stone quarry at Pwalugu and a granite and marble factory at Tongo. On a smaller scale, the inhabitants undertake smock weaving, leatherwork, pottery, sheabutter and groundnut oil extraction.
Cultural togetherness of the people is projected through the media of art, music and drama. There is a strong admiration for the wearing of the smock which is common to all ethnic groups in the region. Drumming and dancing are performed during funerals and during the celebration of the about 15 festivals in the region.
Chieftaincy affairs in the region are handled by a Regional House of Chiefs composed of 16 paramount chiefs. The House headed by a president, oversees the work of all the traditional councils.
UPPER WEST REGION
The Upper West Region, the youngest of the 10 regions of Ghana, was created on January 14th, 1983 by the Government in a bid to bridge the development gap between the Upper West area and the rest of country.
The region covers a total area of 18,476 square kilometres to the extreme north-western part of Ghana. It has a generally low-lying topography with few plateaux surfaces ranging between 1000 ft and 1150ft from Wa-Busie to Zini and Tumu to Nabulo.
The region also has two main drainage systems; the Black Volta and its tributaries, Kamba, Belkpong and Dagere to the west, whilst to the East, it is drained by Kulkpong and its tributaries, Sissili, Felin and Walifuo.
Vegetation is guinea grassland. Common trees are sheanut (buty rosperium) and Dawadawa (perkja filicoides). Hard iron-pan or even gigantic rode underline the soils especially in the Lawra alluvial, sandy loams and sandy clay loams along major rivers.
Over 80 per cent of the population is engaged in subsistent agriculture with staples such as guinea-corn, millet, rice, yams, beans, groundnuts, and bambara beans (cowpea).
At present, about 80 per cent of total production is consumed locally while guinea-corn and beans are exported to other parts of the country.
Cotton and sheanut mainly produced by the peasant farmes constitute the major cash crops oft the region.
The Upper West Region alone produces 40 per cent of the nation's total cotton output whilst in the sheanut industry, this region and the Northern Region are the major producers of sheanut with over 22 purchasing centres.
The Savannah vegetation which is congenial to animal husbandry places the region in a good position to produce cattle, goats, sheep and poultry.
There are a number of local industries such as aluminium pottery, sheabutter processing, groundnut oil extraction, soap-making, cloth and smock weaving and earthware pottery.
There are three major ethnic groups, Dagaabas, Sissalas and Walas, with very rich culture and tradition. The main festivals include Kobine in Lawra paramountcy, Damba in Wa paramountcy, Parigbelle in Tumu paramountcy and Kakube in the Nandom paramountcy.
Covering an area of approximately 20,334 square kilometres, the Volta Region l ies in the east of Ghana and stretches from the Atlantic coast in the south to Kete-Krachi in the north. The Volta lake forms the western boundary while on the east, it shares and international boundary with the Republic of Togo. The region occupies about 9% of Ghana's land area.
Volta Region can boast of having the highest mountain in Ghana, Mount Afadzato. In addition, there are chains of mountains and hills which join the Togoland range in the central parts of the region. These stretch into the northern part and provide flat valleys and water shades for farming.
Volta Region has all the different types of vegetation that can be found in Ghana- savanna woodland in the south, forest in the central zone, and grassland in the north.
The Volta Region takes its name from the Volta River. Besides the Volta, the o ther major rivers are Oti, Asukawkaw, Wawa, Danyi, Tsawoe, Alafo, Todze and Aklakpa. The most popular waterfall is the Wli fall; other falls are at Amedzofe, Logba and Leklebi.
Photo: The Watterfalls of the Volta Region.
The economy of the region depends on agriculture which provides employment for over 60% of the inhabitants. The major food crops are cassava, maize rice and yam. The region leads in the production of cassava and is the third largest producer of maize, next to Brong-Ahafo and Ashanti. It is second to the Northern Region in yam production, while remaining unrivalled in the production of shallots.
Commercial crops are cocoa, coffee, cotton, sugar-cane, citrus fruits and pineapple.
The region contributes 13% of Ghana's marine catch and 75% of fresh water catch. Special catches for which the region is famous are anchovies, shrimps and oysters.
Almost all ethnic groups in other parts of Ghana are represented in the Volta Region as indigenous citizens. The Guans, Akans and other groups are in the northern part, and Ewes are mostly in the central and southern parts. Fifteen dialects are spoken by various ethnic groups and each has distinct culture, customs and traditions. The two major languages are Ewe and Twi.
There are traditional councils headed by paramount chiefs who are also members of the regional house of chiefs.
Some of the most festivals celebrated in the region are Hogbetsotso (Anlo), Otsonsa (Santrokofi), Godigbeza ( Aflao) and Lekoyi ( Likpe).
The Western Region is situated in the south -western part of Ghana and occupies an area of 23,921 square kilometres, with its southern coastline of about 192 kilometres washed by the Gulf of Guinea. It is bordered on the east by the Central and Ashanti Regions and on the north by Brong-Ahafo. It shares an international border in the west with La Cote d'Ivoire.
The land of the region is generally low with heights below 222 metres except in the extreme northwest which has the highest elevation of 660 metres around Atahemikrom. It is largely covered by Birimian and Tarkwaian rocks as well as granites. In the extreme southwest along the coast is an outcrop of marine shales, sandstones and limestones. The Tarkwaian rock Tarkwa, Aboso, Bogoso and other places in the region.
The land surface of the region is well watered by medium sized rivers and small streams as well as by voluminous rivers. These big rivers are Pra, Ankobra, Tano and Bia. All these rivers are fast flowing and with the exception of the lower part of the Ankobra, they are not navigable.
The vegetation is equatorial rain-forest. Of Ghana's total forest area of 77,625 square kilometres, that is about 25% of the closed forest. Because of the general forest cover, the region produces a large volume of the country's timber.
Photo: The Village on Stilts of Nzulezu
About 51.1% of the population in the region is engaged in the agricultural sector where the soil types are suitable for a wide range of crops notably cocoa, coffee, rubber, oil palm, citrus, coconut, rice, cocoyam, plantain, cassava and vegetables. The region is the leading producer of cocoa in the country. Another agricultural activity in the region is fishing, with and average annual total catch of about 49 metric tons.
The concentration of high forest in the region is the basis for the corresponding high production of timber and timber products. Indeed, the region is the leader in the timber industry, producing about 42 per cent of Ghana's annual output.
The region is one of the three most industrialised, the other two being Greater Accra and Ashanti. The industrial capacity of the region is due to the two strong industrial centres, namely Sekondi-Takoradi and the mining areas around Tarkwa and Prestea.
The major industrial establishments, with only a few exceptions process agricultural, forest and mineral products. Most of the industries derive a greater part of the raw materials from the region, with a small portion coming from outside.
Prominent among the lines of production of the industries are cocoa and tobacco products, edible and industrial palm oil, paper products, rubber tyres and tubes, cement, flour, aluminium products, furniture and corrugated iron sheets.
The main ethnic groups found in the region are the Ahantas, Nzemas,Evalues, Wassas, Aowins and Sefwis who are part of the Akan stock of Ghana which migrated to their present settlements from somewhere up north of the present Ghana and Cote d' Ivoire. Like other Akans, the people of the western Region exhibit a high degree of cultural homogeneity especially in the areas of lineage organisation, inheritance and succession, marriage and religion.
There are 21 traditional councils each of which is headed by an Omanhene (paramount chief) who is a member of the Regional House of Chiefs.
About seven major festivals are celebrated to afford the people the opportunity to purify ancestral stools, and to thank God for good harvest, progress, prosperity and protection.