The road to development : the construction and use of 'the Great North Road' in Gold Coast Ghana

TitleThe road to development : the construction and use of 'the Great North Road' in Gold Coast Ghana
Publication TypeOther
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsS.A. Ntewusu
Series titleASC working paper
Date Published2014///
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng

This article is a historical study of a 'motor road' linking the north of the Gold Coast (present day Ghana) to the South. Historians concerned with routes and trade in nineteenth century Gold Coast usually end their accounts at the onset of colonial rule. While studies that concentrate on transport development in modern periods make little reference to the motor road linking Kumasi to Tamale and beyond. Difficulty in communication between the north and the south of Gold Coast, led to the construction of the Great North Road. Northern labourers, the majority of them Dargarti, Frafra, Vagla, Kanjarga (Builsa) among others played a critical role in the road construction. Women also played an important part in the construction as they ensured that food was prepared for the labourers without which it would have been impossible for work to go on. In 1920, the road was completed and the first motor vehicle driven by the then Governor Guggisberg arrived in Tamale in April of that year. The Great North road aside facilitating the work of administrators, also played a significant role in moving a variety of trade goods such as cattle, goats, fowls, Shea butter, corn, groundnuts and migrants to the south. The north also received southern goods especially salt and beer and other European products such as soap, sugar, cloths, bicycles among others. The opportunities offered by the road in terms of ease of travel and trade encouraged the development of settlements on the road and the urban expansion of Salaga and Tamale.

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Citation Key6288