The Greater Accra Region is the smallest of the 10 administrative regions in terms of area, occupying a total land surface of 3,245 square kilometers or 1.4 per cent of the total land area of Ghana. In terms of population, however, it is the second most populated region, after the Ashanti Region, with a population of 4,010,054 in 2010, accounting for 15.4 per cent of Ghana’s total population.
The political administration of the region is through the local government system. Under this administration system, the region is divided into five districts namely, Accra Metropolitan Area, Tema Municipal Area, Ga East District, Ga West District, Dangme West District and Dangme East District. 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 among the members themselves.
The major ethnic groups are the Akan (39.8%), Ga-Dangme (29.7%) and Ewe (18%). The Gas however form the largest single sub-ethnic grouping, accounting for 18.9 percent. Christians constitute the largest religious group (83.0%), followed by Moslems (10.2%), people who profess no religion (4.6%) and adherents of traditional religion (1.4%).
With regard to marital status, 50.0 per cent of persons 15 years and older are in formal or informal cohabiting unions, while an additional 9.6 per cent have once been in a marriage. A slightly higher proportion of females than males are in marital unions; 51.5 per cent compared to 48.5 percent. In spite of the minimum legal age of 18 years prescribed for marriage, there is an indication that some persons aged 12-17 years do marry. The proportion of persons aged 12-17 years who are married or in consensual unions is 1.7 percent, compared to a national average of 6.4 percent.
In 1960, Greater Accra, then referred to as Accra Capital District, was geographically and legally part of the Eastern Region. It was, however, administered separately by the Minister responsible for local government. With effect from 23 July 1982, Greater Accra was created by the Greater Accra Region Law (PNDCL 26) as a legally separate region to include the Ada local council area.
The region is administered at two different but complementary levels, the traditional and political levels. The traditional level of administration is through an intricate network of local governance dealing with purely traditional affairs concerning customs and land administration, while the political is along the lines of law and order and decentralized government machinery.
The administration of the region is through the local government system that derives its authority from the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462). Under this administration, the region is divided into five areas/districts with their capitals.
Administrative Area Capital
Accra Metropolitan Area (AMA) Accra, Tema Municipal Area Tema, Ga East District, Ga West District, Dangme West District, Dodowa and Dangme East District, Ada-Foah. Each administrative area is under the control of a Chief Executive representing central government but deriving his/her authority from an Assembly, headed by a Presiding Member elected from among the members themselves.
Two-thirds of assembly members are elected through local elections, while the remaining one-third is appointed by Government. The Assemblies have wide ranging social, economic and legislative jurisdiction over their respective local authority areas, but there is a Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to coordinate and monitor the activities of these Assemblies. The Regional Coordinating Council, which is headed by the Regional Minister, has the following membership:
- Regional Minister and his Deputies,
- The Presiding Member and the Chief Executive from each Assembly in the Region,
iii. Two Chiefs from the Regional House of Chiefs,
- The Regional Heads of decentralized Departments in the Region as members without voting rights.
The Regional Coordinating Director is the Secretary to the Regional Coordinating Council. In recent times, it has been decided that new districts are going to be created throughout the country. In the Greater Accra Region, an extra district is to be created, by dividing the Ga District into Ga West and Ga East with the capital at Amasaman and Ga East with capital at Abokobi.
It has a coastline of approximately 225 kilometers, stretching from Kokrobite in the west to Ada in the east. The soils have low organic contents with shallow top soils which limit the capacity for crop production. The vegetation is mainly coastal savannah shrubs interspersed with thickets. Some trees are however found mostly in the Dangme West and Ga districts.
The region is relatively dry since it falls within the dry coastal equatorial climatic zone with temperatures ranging between 20° and 30° Celsius and annual rainfall ranging from 635 mm along the coast to 1,140 mm. in the northern parts. There are two rainfall peaks notably in June and October. The first rainfall season between April and July is associated with the major cropping season in the region.
The main rivers that flow through the region are the Volta and Densu. In addition, there are small seasonal streams flowing mostly from the Akwapim Ridge into the sea through numerous lagoons. Because the region is bordered on the south by the Gulf of Guinea, there are ecologically very important but highly polluted lagoons and wetlands in AMA, Tema and Dangme East.
The population of Greater Accra has increased from 491,817 in 1960 to 2,905,726 in 2000. It has the second largest population, after Ashanti, and its share of the total population of the country has steadily increased from 7.3 per cent in 1960 to 15.4 per cent in 2000.
The male population has grown from 261,547 in 1960 to 1,436,135 in 2000. The corresponding female figures are 230,270 in 1960 and 1,469,591 in 2000. During the 1960-2000 periods, the female population grew much faster than the male population. This may be the result of greater migration of females into the region in response to the employment and other opportunities provided by urbanization in the area of trading and services.
The Ga-Dangme are a patriarchal, patrilineal and patrilocal society.
The largest ethnic group in the region is the Akan, comprising 39.8 percent, followed by Ga-Dangme (29.7%) and Ewe (18%). In terms of individual ethnic sub groups, detailed results indicate that the Gas form the single largest sub-group, accounting for 18.9 per cent of the population. Among the Akan group, the Fantes constitute 10.6 percent, Asantes, 8.3 per cent and Akuapem 4.9 percent.
Perhaps the most important common religious institution that has survived as an expression of the unity of the Ga-Dangme people relates to the three main annual festivals celebrated in the region. These are the Asafotufiam celebrated in the Ada area, Ngmayem in the Shai Osudoku area and the Homowo by the Gas. The festivals provide an occasion for the gathering together of the Ga-Dangme from every part of the country, where they happen to be temporarily domiciled in order to eat communally together and at the same time to welcome new members of the family while remembering the dead. It is also an occasion for the settling of personal quarrels and important family disputes.
The percentage distribution of religious groups shows the predominance of Christians (82.9%) in the region, compared with the second major religion, Islam (10.2%). Among the Christian group, adherents of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches constitute the largest religious denomination (38.0%) followed by Protestants (26.0%) and Catholics (9.7%) in that order. The distribution is almost similar for both sexes except for the predominance of females in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. There are however more male than female Muslims which conforms to the national pattern.
The occupational structure shows that 42.0 per cent were engaged in sales and service occupations, with 24.7 per cent as production, transport and equipment operators. As expected, the region has a larger concentration of professional and technical workers (10.8%) compared to the national figure of 6.5 percent. On the other hand, agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry, fishermen and hunters, do not feature as prominently (9.1%) as is the case for the country as a whole (49.1%).
There are sex differences in terms of type of occupation. The four largest male occupational groups are production, transport operators (29.6%), sales (19.4%), clerical and related workers (14.4%) and professional, technical and related workers (13.4%). In contrast, females are mainly sales workers (42.0%), production, transport and equipment operators, (19.5%) and service workers (13.9%).
In the Greater Accra Region, wholesale and retail trade (30.4%) and manufacturing (16.7%) are the dominant branches of activity, as was the case in 1984 (with 29.9% wholesale and retail trade and 19.1% manufacturing).
About 7.9 per cent of economically active persons are engaged in agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing industry. This proportion is far below the national average of 52.1 percent. 39.0 per cent of females are in wholesale and retail trade compared to 22.2 per cent of males. There is no sex differential as far as manufacturing is concerned. However, females are about three times more likely than males to be in hotels and restaurants industry.
More than half (51.8%) of the economically active population are self-employed without employees, while 32.6 per cent are employees. A much larger proportion of females (62.6%) than males (41.6%) are self-employed with no employees. Males are 1.5 times more likely than females to be employees