The Central Gonja District is one of the seven (7) Administrative Districts of the Savannah Region. The District was created in 2004 by Legislative Instrument (LI) 1750. The District is located to the South Western part of the Savannah Region of Ghana. It lies on longitude 1˚5’W and 2˚ 58’W and latitude 8˚32’N and 10˚2’N. The District was carved out of the West Gonja District in 2004. It shares boundaries in the South with Kintampo North Municipality in the Bono Region, West Gonja District to the West, Tamale Metro to the North and East Gonja to the East. The Yapei-Kusawgu Constituency of which the District is within was created in 1992.
The District covers 7,555km2 and is strategically linked to the Southern sector as the gate way to the Northern Regions (Savannah, Northern, North East, and Upper East). The District covers five Traditional Areas, namely the Buipe, Debre, Manpkang, Kusawgu, and Tuluwe Traditional Areas.
Relief and Drainage
The topography of the District is generally undulating with altitude of between 150-200 meters above sea levels. The White Volta River joins the Black Volta River around Tuluwe and Mpaha area in the District. The two major rivers, the White and Black Volta, run through the District offering a good potential for small-scale irrigation schemes along their valleys. The confluence of the Black and White Volta Rivers is at Sheri which is a potential site for tourist attraction. Both the Black and White Volta Rivers which drain the District, have good potential for small-scale irrigation schemes along their valleys. They also provide good waterways from Buipe and Yapei respectively to Akosombo via the Volta Lake in Yeji.
There is inland harbour at Buipe on the Black Volta. These rivers have good potential for fishing and fish farming in the District.
Climate and Temperature
The District experiences the extremes of temperature. The daily and annual range is wide. The coldest nights in the year are experienced in the three months of December, January and February. During these months, the air becomes dry and the atmosphere becomes hazy and there is low visual visibility due to the fine dust in the air. The mean monthly temperature is 27˚C. Humidity at this period is very low. This period is known as Harmattan.
The rains begin around May and end in October. The rainfall is seasonal and is characterized by a single maximum. The mean annual rainfall is about 1144mm. The rainfall pattern is erratic, beginning in late April to late October. June, July and August generally record the heaviest rainfall and also the greatest number of rainy days. The rainfall is characterized by thunder storms or sharp showers. Erosion and floods are common in the District due to the torrential nature of rains. The irregular distribution and short duration of the rainfall are a great limitation to crops and vegetative growth. Single crop production is the rule due to the rainfall pattern.
Soil and Vegetation
The District is situated in an old geological area. The rocks are mainly Voltaian formation with isolated Cambrian rocks which contain valuable minerals. The known resources include deposit of gold, diamond, marble stone, and limestone. Limestone occurs between the lower and middle Voltaian formation around Buipe –the capital of the District. Generally, the soils in the District are fertile for agricultural purposes.
The natural vegetation is Guinea Savannah. The major tree species are sheanut, dawadawa, baobab, acacia, nim and little ebony. These trees are scattered except in most valleys where isolated wood –land or gallery forest are found. Most trees are deciduous shedding their leaves during the dry season in order to conserve water.
Generally, the soil is fertile for agriculture purposes, such as the cultivation of rice, soya bean, yams and maize. Yam is also cultivated in the District especially around Mpaha Area. The original vegetation in major settlements such as Buipe, Yapei, Mpaha and Kusawgu has been destroyed by human activities. Bush fires, charcoal burning and fetching of in particular firewood have reached alarming proportions which must be checked to avoid environmental problems in future. The only forest reserve the District is endowed is the Yakumbo Forest Reserve. This forest is located at Western part of District capital. It has an area of about 1,200 hectares.
Population and Demographic Characteristics
The population of the District stands at 142,762 with 71,635 males and 71,127 females (PHC 2021, Ghana Statistical Service). The Central Gonja population represent 21.9% of the total population in the Savannah Region. A significant feature of the population is that male (50.2) is more than females (49.8). It is apparent from the 2021 PHC that rural population (100,608) is much higher than urban population (42,154) confirming that majority of the economically active group are into agriculture related activities. The District has a population growth rate of 2.5%. It comprises of 265 communities with Buipe as the District capital.
The district economy is dominated by the Agriculture sector employing, with crop and livestock farming account for about 86.3 % of the workforce. This is followed by the commercial and service sectors with about 8.2% and 5.5% respectively. The land is extremely fertile for agriculture and farming is normally intensive. Some crops grown are maize, sorghum, millet, groundnut, cowpea, soya beans, yam, rice, as well as cassava. Fishing and livestock are considered as supplementary activities to crop farming.
Large scale fishing is carried out at Yapei and Buipe on the White and Black Volta rivers respectively. The major animals produced or reared are cattle, sheep, goats, fowls and guinea fowls. The District has the largest market in Savannah Region trading in agricultural produce, livestock and retail trade with one of the largest cattle markets in the Ghana. Other economic activities undertaken in the District are small- scale agro-based industries such as shea butter processing, rice milling, groundnut oil extraction and gari processing. Shea-butter processing is a major commercial activity for the women apart from retailing.
There are two manufacturing industries in the District that include Savannah Diamond Cement Company Ltd and PBC Shea Ltd. There are also two large scale distribution industries (Bulk Oil and Ghana Cement ports) in the District. Commercial and trading activities are very common in the District due to immigration influx of people working in these companies. These commercial activities include manufacturing and retail and wholesale of agric and non-agric products especially in the big towns like Buipe, Yapei, Kusawgu, Mpaha and Sakpala.
Important Details of Central Gonja District
- The District has 96 Pre-schools, 97 Primary schools, 31 Junior High Schools and 3 Senior High Schools. Enrolment in primary schools for the 2021/2022 academic year are 23,484. Teacher population at the various levels stands as follows: Preschool 86, Primary School 371, Junior High school 214 and 107 for Senior High Schools.
- With respect to transportation, the District is served with a network of feeder roads and tractor trails. With the exception of the trunk road that stretches from Buipe to Tamale and covers about 100 km, and portions of the Domeabra–Mpaha roads, none of the roads in the District is bitumen surfaced. Over 60% of the road network in the District is not engineered.
- The District has one (1) District Hospital, one (1) Private Hospital, one (1) Polyclinic, five (5) Health Centres and Twenty-Five (25) demarcated Community Health and Planning System (CHPS). The staff strength of the Ghana Health Service aside from the Directorate, stands at one (1) Medical Doctor, three (3) Medical Assistants, eighty-two (82) Staff Nurses, fifty-six (56) community health nurses, one hundred and sixty-two (162) Enrolled Nurses, forty-two (42) midwives, two (2) obstetric nurses and one (1) pharmacist.
- Potable water supply in the District is generally poor with coverage of about 54% of the population. With the exception of the Yapei, Buipe and Fufulso Small Town Water Systems, no piped water system exists in any other community. The rest rely on boreholes with pump and surface water. More effort is required in the area of water provision to the rural communities in the District. The Assembly, in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners, is working hard to reduce Open Defecation which is a major sanitation issue in the District.
As a Local Government, the Central Gonja District Assembly is guided by the principles of popular participation, decentralization and development. By these principles, the staff of the Assembly are also guided by the culture of the Assembly which hinges on loyalty to government, discipline, promotion of transparency and efficiency.
The Assembly promotes participation of all stakeholders and community members in the governance and service delivery efforts of Government. This is very necessary for the attainment of the Assembly’s Vision and Mission for the promotion of peace and development in the Central Gonja District.
The Central Gonja District Assembly, like all other Assemblies, derives its functions from Article 245 of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana as well as section 12 and 13 of the Local Governance Act (Act 936) of 2016. The Functions of the Assembly are both mandatory and permissive. This implies that law or Act of Parliament states some of the functions of the Assembly, while others are left to the discretion of the Assembly to embark upon in the interest of the District.
The mandatory functions of the District Assembly are spelt out in the Local Governance Act of 2016, Act 936. Section 12 (1-9) and Section 13 (1-8) of the Act which mandates District Assemblies to among other things;
- Exercise political and administrative authority functions.
- Promote local economic development
- Provide guidance and direction to other administrative authorities in the District,
- A District Assembly shall exercise deliberative, legislative and executive functions and
- Be responsible for the overall development of the District and shall ensure the preparation and submission of the following through the Regional Coordinating Council:
- Promote and support productive activity and social development in the District;
- Sponsor the education of students in the District to fill particular manpower needs of the District;
- Initiate programmes for the development of basic infrastructure and provide municipal works and services in the District;
- Be responsible for the development, improvement and management of human settlement and the environment in the District.
- In co-operation with the appropriate National and Local security agencies, be responsible for the maintenance of security and public safety in the District.
- Ensure ready access to courts in the District for the promotion of justice.
- Initiate, sponsor or carry out such study as may be necessary for the discharge of any of the functions conferred by the Act or any other enactment; and
- execute approved development plans,
- guide and support sub-districts local structures, public agencies and local communities to perform their functions;
In the performance of these functions however, the District Assembly is subject to the general guidance and direction of the President on matters of National policy and is to act in cooperation with the appropriate public corporations, statutory bodies or Non-Governmental Organizations.