Profile of the Western North Region

Historical Background

The Western North Region of Ghana is a new region carved out of the existing Western Region of Ghana. In March 2017, the ministry sent the blueprint for the creation of the region along with others to the Council of State. The final stage for the creation of the region was decided through a referendum by the people within the area of the new region on 27 December 2018.

  • The jurisdiction of the region

The Western North Region was created by the Constitutional Instrument (CI). 117 of 15th February, 2019 and handed over to the substantive Regional Minister on 2nd April, 2019. The Region was officially inaugurated by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo on 10th April, 2019.

  • Location and Size

The Western North Region has Sefwi Wiawso as its administrative capital. It is bordered to the west by the Ivory Coast, to the southeast by the Central region and the Ashanti and Bono regions in the north. The southern part is bordered by the Western region. The region has a total land size of 10,257.3 sq. km, approximately 4.30 of the country’s land size. Geographically, the region is located on longitude 06012’57” N and Latitude 02029’06” W.

Population Size and Distribution

The population of the region as enumerated in the 2021 PHC is 880,921 being 2.87% of the national population; with 451,948 males and 428,973 females. The phenomenal growth in population is attributable to several factors. Apart from an increase in birth rate and decrease in mortality rate over the period, one major factor has been in-migration as a result of increased economic activity, particularly between 2010 and 2021 when the region experienced a boom in both the mining and the cocoa industries. Between 2010 and 2021, Censuses, the population increased by 23.8 percent which translates into an intercensual growth rate of 2.0 percent.

The population aged less than 15 years constitute 36.14 percent of the total, while those aged 15 – 64 make up 60.77 percent and persons 65 years and older make up the remaining 3.09 percent.

Currently, the regional population density is 85.88 persons per sq. km. The population density for the region has also been increasing steadily over the years, another factor of rapid urbanization and increased economic activity. This rapid increase in population density has both economic and social implications, particularly for the provision of housing and health facilities, as well as land acquisition for economic activities.

Ethnicity

The Western North Region is predominantly inhabited by Akans, with the major ethnic groups being Sefwi, Ayeni and Brosa. The Region is also home to non-indigenes who have settled in different parts of the Region and engaged mostly in farming. They include: Krobo, Kyiropong, Akuapim, Ewes, Gas, Kwawu, Ashanti, Dagari, Frafra, Dagombas, etc.  

Physical Characteristics

Relief

The relief of the Western North Region falls in the physiographic type as the forest dissected plateau. Much of the region is a plain between about 240 and 300 metres above sea level with isolated hills. In the North-West (covering about five districts) the topography is rugged and hilly. The two rock types are important because most of the gold, manganese and diamonds mined in the country are obtained from the Birrimian rocks, while the Tarkwaian provides large quantities of gold. Also, rich deposits of bauxite occur in areas covered by the two types of rock.

  • Climate and Vegetation

The Western North Region lies in the equatorial climatic zone that is characterised by moderate temperatures, ranging from 22°C at nightfall to 34°C during the day. The Region is among the wettest part of Ghana, with a double maxima rainfall pattern averaging 1,600 mm per annum. The two rainfall peaks fall between May-July and September/October. In addition to the two major rainy seasons, the region also experiences intermittent minor rains all year round. This high rainfall regime creates much moisture culminating in high relative humidity, ranging from 70 to 90 per cent in most parts of the region.

The region has about 75 per cent of its vegetation within the high forest zone of Ghana. The north-western areas of the region are noted for their rain forest, while a large expanse of high tropical forest and semi-deciduous forest is also found in the northern part of the region. The Western Region has 28 forest reserves, which account for about 40 per cent of the forest reserves in the country.

Drainage 

The major rivers that drain the region are the Ankobra, Tano and Bia. The Ankobra, which flows to the west of the Pra, has a relatively small drainage basin. The Ankrobra River takes its source form the Merewa forest reserves, rising north east of Wiawso, and flows about 120 miles (190 km) south to the Gulf of Guinea. Its entire course is in the southern part of Ghana. At one time, the Ankobra helped transport machinery to the gold-mining areas in the vicinity of Tarkwa.

The Tano, which is the westernmost of the three rivers, rises near Techiman in the center of the country. It also flows in a southerly direction, and it empties into a lagoon in the southeast corner of Ivory Coast. Navigation by steam launch is possible on the southern sector of the Tano for about 70 kilometers. The river forms the last few kilometres of the international land boundary between Ghana and the Ivory Coast-

The rivers are close to the forest and are large enough to be used for the establishment of irrigation schemes for farming activities all year round and production of potable water for the people in the district.