Tamale (pronounced [ˈtamalɛ])[need tone] with a population of 360,579 (2007), is the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana and the Tamale Metropolitan District with which it is coterminous Area. The city is located 600 km north of Accra. It is mostly populated by Dagomba people who speak Dagbani and are followers of Islam, as reflected by the multitude of mosques in the city, most notably the central mosque.
Located in the northern part of the country, the city is like a conglomeration of villages where one can find an architectural blend of traditional mud houses and modern buildings. While the majority of the houses are roofed with corrugated iron sheets, a good number of them are roofed with grass. Many of these mud block compounds have TV antennae and electricity wires. The University for Development Studies has a campus located in Tamale.
Due to its central location, Tamale serves as a hub for all administrative and commercial activities in the region, doubling as the political, economic and financial capital of the region. The center of Tamale hosts regional branches of Ghana's financial institutions and a considerable number of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), CARE International, ActionAid and World Vision, so much so that Tamale is often referred to as the NGO capital of Ghana.
Tamale has developed and transformed very fast within the last few years and is reputed to be the fastest growing city in West Africa. The new dimension of Tamale's development is the rush by various companies to open branches in the city. The hospitality industry has grown significantly with new hotels and guest houses built around the city. Amongst Tamale's new and modern facilities include the newly-constructed Tamale Stadium, replacing the city's former principal football pitch, Kaladan Park, with a world-class venue. Indeed, many improvements to Tamale's infrastructure occurred in the period leading up to the 2008 African Cup of Nations tournament. Further improvements were made, particularly to Tamale's road system.
The metropolis experiences one rainy season starting from April/May to September/October with a peak season in July/August. The mean annual rainfall is 1100mm within 95 days of intense rainfall. Consequently, staple crop farming is highly restricted by the short rainfall duration.
The dry season is usually from November to March. It is influenced by the dry North-Easterly (Harmattan) winds while the rainy season is influenced by the moist South Westerly winds. The mean day temperatures range from 33 Celsius to 39 Celsius while mean night temperature range from 20 Celsius to 22 Celsius. The mean annual day sunshine is approximately 7.5 hours.
Tamale has a Mayor–council government system in which the mayor is vested with extensive executive powers. The mayor is appointed by the president of the Republic of Ghana and approved by the city council, although cries have been made by the public to increase accountability of the office by having the mayor elected. The current mayor of Tamale is Alhaji Haruna Friday appointed by H.E. President Atta Mills in 2009.
Tamale is the principal center of education in the north of Ghana. Currently there are a total of 742 basic schools within the metropolis. This comprises 94 kindergartens, 304 primary, 112 Junior High and 10 Senior High Schools. The rest are technical/vocational institutions, two (2) colleges of Education, a polytechnic and two universities –one public and the other private.
In the Education Ridge neighborhood in the northwestern party of the city and covering an area of about 3 km, 20 schools ranging from kindergartens through junior high and senior high schools, teachers’ training colleges, the Tamale Polytechnic and a university are located. The headquarters of the University for Development Studies is located in Tamale. The numerous trees lining the streets in this part of the city give it a tropical rainforest outlook.
Tamale is served by Tamale Airport. Located approximately 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Tamale, the airport is mainly used by commercial airlines such as CiTylink,Starbow Airlines and Antrak Air, which run regular flights between Tamale and Accra’s Kotoka International Airport along with other regional capitals
Public transportation in the form of taxis is the most convenient means of getting around Tamale for visitors to the city. The popular means of travel for the locals, however, is by bike and motorbike. This phenomenon is helped by the existence of bike paths in the city, making it the most bike-friendly city in Ghana.
Tamale has entered into sister city relations with the following cities:
City Country Date Reference
United States Louisville, Kentucky United States 1979
Burkina Faso Fada N'gourma Burkina Faso 2003
Niger Commune II Niamey Niger 2007