The city of Accra
The city of Accra

People and Places: City of Accra

Accra, a city in the Greater Accra Region, located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, is the national capital of Ghana. It is the largest city and the major economic and administrative hub of the country. The name Accra usually refers to the territory of the Accra Metropolitan District which is one of the 25 districts of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA).


 The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area is said to account for more than half of the nation's economic output and more than a quarter of the national workforce. 

The Accra Metropolitan District, according to the 2021 population and Housing Census, had a population of 284,124 inhabitants. It is the only district within the capital to be granted city status and, thus, referred to as the City of Accra.

The word Accra is derived from ‘Nkran’ which is the Akan word for soldier ants. Legend has it that, when the Ga people, led by their King, Ayi Kushie, arrived by sea, the Guans who saw them on their canoes at sea, likened them to soldier ants due to their large numbers.

Hence, they referred to them as Nkran.

This was later corrupted to ‘Akra’ by the Danes, and subsequently to ‘Accra’. Nkran in the Ga language is Gaga, thus they also started calling themselves Ga.

The name is now applied to both the city (Nkran) and Ga people (Nkranfo) by the Akans.

Before the relocation of the capital of Gold Coast from Cape Coast to Accra in 1877, the region was rural and consisted of predominantly Ga fishing and farming settlements and was not the most prominent trading centre at the time.

 However, by 1891, the new capital had developed into an urban area with a population of about 20,000.

Today, the City of Accra has developed into a cosmopolitan urban centre with many modern facilities and high rise structures across the skyline.

The city also has many historic sites and monuments such as the James Fort, Ussher Fort , the Christianborg Castle, National Museum and Archives and Ghana's central library. Others include the National Theatre, the Accra International Conference Centre, Black Star Square, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Museum, and the Jamestown Lighthouse.

As the national capital, the Parliament House, Supreme Court of Ghana, and the central bank (Bank of Ghana), as well as the seat of government, the Jubilee House, are also located in Accra.

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