The Eastern Region, with an area of 19,323 square kilometres, occupying 8.1 per cent of the total land area of Ghana, is the sixth largest region of the country. A total of 2,106,696 population for the region, representing 11.1 per cent of Ghana’s population. It is the third most populous region, after the Ashanti and Greater Accra. The population is made up of 49.2 per cent males and 50.8 per cent females. The region is divided into administrative districts. The total number of districts were increased from 17 districts to 21.
The Eastern Region occupies a land area of 19,323 kilometres and constitutes 8.1 per cent of the total land area of Ghana. It is the sixth largest region in terms of land area. It lies between latitudes 6o and 7o North and between longitudes 1o30’ West and 0o30’ East. The region shares common boundaries with the Greater Accra, Central, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions.
The region has four main geographical features, namely:
(i) The Kwahu scarp with an elevation of 2,586 feet above sea level.
(ii) The Atiwa-Atwaredu Ranges near Kibi, reaching an elevation of 2,400 feet.
(iii) The Akuapem highland attaining an elevation of 1,530 feet which is the southern extension of the Togo-Atakora mountain ranges and
(iv) The isolated hills/mountains dotting the relatively low-lying plains to the south, notably the Krobo and the Yogaga mountains.
The Kwahu Scarp and the Atiwa-Atwaredu form the major watershed of the region. It is from these that the major rivers such as the Pra, Birim and the Densu take their sources. The Volta lake also covers part of the region. The Kwahu scarp also has the highest inhabited place in Ghana, at Abetifi, though this is not the highest mountain pick in the country. The Akosombo and Kpong dams are located in the region. These rivers and the Volta lake are water bodies with high potentials for irrigation, farming, inland fishing, water transport as well as sources for drinking water for both urban and rural settlements. The region is also characterized by long range forest highlands such as the Akim, Kwahu, Akwamu, Krobo and Shai Hills.
The region is rich in minerals such as gold, diamond, bauxite-tantalite, limestone, kaolin and clay. Gold and diamond are however the only minerals that are mined commercially. For over 70 years, the diamond mines at Akwatia and Takrowase in the Birim River Valley was producing high quality industrial diamonds, but this has declined considerably over the last two decades. Plans to mine the major bauxite deposits at Kibi on the Atiwa Range are yet to materialize due to financial constraints and ecological and environmental concerns. The Range is the habitat of many rare and exotic flora and fauna, and is the source of rivers that are crucial for the survival of other parts of the country, such as the Densu river which is the source of water for the Weija dam at Accra. Ecological and environmental factors are therefore of prime importance in determining the commercial exploitation of the bauxite and other minerals.
The forest and savannah type of soils are suitable for the cultivation of a variety of crops including cocoa, cola-nuts, citrus, oil palm and staple food crops such as cassava, yam, cocoyam, maize, rice and vegetables. The region contributes significantly to the production of industrial crops such as cocoa, pineapple, pawpaw, cola nut and oil palm and also has a substantial share in the national production of maize, cassava, and citrus. Available also in the region are exotic crops such as black and sweet pepper, ginger, cashew nuts, Irish potatoes, rubber and mangoes, which are all gaining importance as export commodities.
The region has a beautiful natural setting which makes it an impressive tourist area. It is characterized by a chain of highlands, woody valleys and waterfalls, including the Boti Falls at Huhunya in the Krobo Hills. For perfect calm and serenity, the most appropriate months are June and August.
Located in the region are the botanical gardens at Aburi, the remains of the 17th Century slave market at Abonse, Tetteh Quarshie’s first cocoa farm, and residence at Akwapim Mampong and the Akonedi shrine, at Larteh. These and the available cruises over the Volta lake are some of the many attractions that the region offers. The palm tree, which legend claims was climbed by the famous Okomfo Anokye, wearing only a pair of sandals, is located in Awukugua in the Akwapim Hills.
The region lies within the wet semi-equatorial zone which is characterized by double maxima rainfall in June and October. The first rainy season is from May to June, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in June while the second season is from
September to October, with little variations between the districts. Temperatures in the region are high and range between 26oC in August and 30oC in March. The relative humidity which is high throughout the year varies between 70 per cent -80 per cent.
The population of the Region3 2,106,696, represents 11.1 per cent of Ghana’s population of 18,912,079. It is the third most populous region after Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions. The intercensal growth rate was 2.0 per cent between 1960/1970, 1.8 per cent between 1970/1984 and 1.4 per cent between 1984/2000 implying a slowing down of the rate of growth of the population.
The region’s population is very young, with 41.7 per cent aged less than 15 years and 5.8 per cent older than 64 years. Females constitute 50.8 and male 49.2 per cent of the total population, giving a sex ratio of 96.8 males to 100 females. On a broad sector basis, 58.4 per cent of the employed population work in agriculture including hunting, forestry and related work and fishing. 13.5 per cent in wholesale and retail trade and 9.1 per cent in manufacturing. The population distribution pattern shows that 34.6 per cent of the region’s population live in 56 urban settlements (towns with population above 5,000) while the greater percentage, 65.4 per cent, live in rural communities.
There are four major ethnic groups in the region namely, the Akan (52.1%), the Ga-Dangme (18.9%), the Ewe (15.9%) and the Guan (7.2%). The Akan are predominant in 11 of the 17 districts and constitute about 85.4 per cent of the population of Birim South, 75.0 per cent in Birim North and 67.9 per cent in East Akim . Yilo Krobo (79.7%) and Manya Krobo (71.4%) have the largest concentration of the Ga-Dangme while the Ewe population is largest in the Asuogyaman (39.1%) and in the Afram Plains (50.8%). Both these districts share a common border with the Volta Region which is the home of the Ewe. The Guan have a large concentration in the Akwapim North (34.5%) even though they are not the largest ethnic group in the district. They are also significant in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar (17.4%) and Asuogyaman (14.1%) districts. 1 Ada Local Council, now Dangme East, was formerly part of the Eastern Region.
The main occupations of the economically active population in the region are Agriculture and related work (54.8%), Sales (14.3%), Production, Transport and Equipment work (14.0%) and Professional and Technical work (6.9%) with Services accounting for 5.0 per cent. The four principal occupations for males are agriculture and related work (56.9%), Production, Transport and Equipment work (16.6%), Professional and Technical work (8.6%) and Sales work (6.5%). These occupations are similar for females, except in Sales work where females (21.8%) feature more significantly than males. The proportions for females are: Agriculture and related work, 52.7 per cent; Production, Transport and Equipment work, 11.5 per cent; Professional and Technical, and related work 5.2 per cent and Sales work, 21.8 per cent.
There are three main industrial activities in the region, namely Agriculture including Hunting, Forestry (54.9%), Wholesale and Retail trade (13.5%) and Manufacturing (9.1%). In Agriculture and related work, males constitute 57.4 per cent, compared with 52.6 per cent of females. However, females are predominant in Wholesale and Retail Trade (19.3%), compared with 7.4 per cent males. In the Manufacturing industry, female participation (9.5%) is higher than that of males (8.8%). Birim North District has the highest economically active population in Agriculture and related work for both males (77.6%) and females (73.9%) while in New Juaben, only 17.7 per cent of males and 14.3 per cent of females are in that industry.
In the Manufacturing sector, the highest percentage for males (15.4%) and for females (15.0%) is in New Juaben municipality, with the lowest for both males (3.2%) and female (4.4%) in the Afram Plains District. Similarly, in the Wholesale and Retail Trade, the highest proportion for males (17.4%) and for females (39.1%) is in New Juaben municipality, while the Afram Plains District has the lowest for both males (2.2%) and females (6.6%).