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Title:The road to development: the construction and use of 'the Great North Road' in Gold Coast Ghana
Author:Ntewusu, Samuel AniegyeISNI
Series:ASC working paper
City of publisher:Leiden
Publisher:African Studies Centre
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:road construction
road transport
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/1887/25832
Abstract:This paper 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 19th-century Gold Coast usually end their accounts at the onset of colonial rule,w hile 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, and Kanjarga (Builsa), 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. Aside facilitating the work of administrators, the Great North Road 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, and bicycles. 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. [Author abstract]