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POPULATION (Census 2010): 24,658,823
AREA: 238,533 sq km
CURRENCY: Ghana cedi (GHS)
HEAD OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT: President John Dramani Mahama
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: constitutional republic
LANGUAGES: English (official); Akan, Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema (government-sponsored)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: 2012, turnout: 69.5%; next: 2016
LOCAL ELECTIONS: last: 2010, turnout: -; next: 2014


Ghana is a constitutional republic with two spheres of government: central and local. Local government is enshrined in the constitution, as is decentralisation, and the main relevant legislation is the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462). The country is divided into ten administrative units or regions, each headed by a regional minister appointed by the president. There are three types of assemblies at the higher levels of local government: metropolitan, municipal and district. There are also sub-structures that do not hold any legislative or rating powers and undertake activities delegated to them by the assemblies: sub-metropolitan, district, urban, town, zonal and area councils and unit committees. The district assemblies are responsible for the setting and collecting of local revenue. There are also numerous grants transferred from central to local government, the most important of which is the District Assemblies’ Common Fund, where not less than 7.5% of GDP must be transferred to and distributed by the assemblies annually. The District Development Facility (DDF) and the Urban Grants are other forms of transfers to district assemblies. However, these are performance-based. The assemblies are responsible for the provision of basic education, although central government retains control over education policy. The districts are also responsible for public health, environmental protection and sanitation, while social welfare is a shared responsibility.

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Related links

Commonwealth Local Government Good Practice Scheme in Ghana

Additional information since publication

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