Kasoa, formerly known as Odupongkpehe, is a rapidly growing peri-urban town located in the Awutu Senya East Municipal District within Ghana’s Central Region. Positioned along the vital Accra-Cape Coast Road, Kasoa is a significant hub of activity, serving as a key transportation corridor approximately 36 kilometres (22 miles) west of Kotoka International Airport in Accra. It is also conveniently situated about 28 kilometres (17 miles) west of Accra’s central business district.
Kasoa’s strategic location has contributed to its remarkable expansion, making it the largest and fastest-growing town and municipality in the region. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Awutu Senya East Municipal Assembly (ASEMA), one of the 20 Metropolitan, Municipalities, and Districts (MMADs) in the Central Region of Ghana.
With coordinates at 05 31 12N latitude and 00 28 48W longitude, Kasoa is at the crossroads of development and transformation, embodying the dynamic urbanization occurring in many parts of Ghana’s rapidly evolving landscape.
Kasoa, formerly known as Odupongkpehe, undergoes a distinctive seasonal pattern, primarily influenced by the prevailing winds. The town experiences a prolonged five-month dry season from November to March, driven by the northeast trade winds. However, this arid period is succeeded by a challenging seven-month rainy season stretching from April through October, guided by the southwest monsoon winds.
Unfortunately, the rainy season brings its own set of difficulties for the community. It often leads to flooding, jeopardizing infrastructure and homes, while also causing low crop yields due to excess moisture. These agricultural setbacks contribute to financial strain for a significant portion of Odupongkpehe/Kasoa’s population, exacerbating the challenges faced by the community during this extended wet period.
Odupongkpehe/Kasoa, situated in Ghana, is experiencing significant demographic changes. Originally home to the Awutu tribe, a Guan ethnic group, it has become a diverse settlement with various ethnicities like Hausas, Gas, Akans, Ewes, and others. In 2010, its population was approximately 370,384, marking substantial growth driven by urban sprawl and the spill-over effect from Accra-Tema.
The population history of Odupongkpehe/Kasoa vividly illustrates its rapid expansion. Over four decades, from 1970 to 2010, the population surged from 863 to 69,384, a growth rate exceeding 79 times. This phenomenon is attributed to rural-urban migration, limited economic prospects in rural areas, and the allure of employment in nearby urban centres.
However, this explosive growth has led to challenges, including traffic congestion, inadequate housing, and insufficient market space for vendors. Additionally, the rising demand for residential land has encroached on agricultural areas, affecting the livelihoods of local farmers.
Odupongkpehe/Kasoa is navigating these issues as it transforms from a rural community into a bustling peri-urban area, striving to develop the necessary infrastructure to accommodate its burgeoning population while preserving its cultural heritage.
In 1957, Ghana became the first African nation to gain independence from European colonial rule. Until 2007, Kasoa was part of the Awutu Effutu Senya District. Following the split, Kasoa became part of the Awutu Senya district and later the administrative capital of the Awutu Senya East Municipal Assembly in 2012. Kasoa’s political structure is semi-traditional, with a chief as the central authority, supported by administrative and judicial institutions influenced by colonial and modern systems.
Traditional Akan Chieftaincy is the foundation, with the Paramount Chief at the top, followed by the Paramount Queen Mother and other chiefs serving various functions. Land ownership customs are unique, with chiefs and family heads as land sellers, and land is leased rather than owned, mainly for residential and commercial purposes, causing decreased agricultural opportunities. The chief plays a role in land development decisions, sometimes leading to disputes. Efforts to resolve such issues are ongoing.
Odupongkpehe/Kasoa, situated in the Awutu-Senya district of Ghana, hosts a prominent regional market known for its agro-processed products, particularly cassava-based items like ‘agbelima’ and ‘gari.’ Agriculture and related businesses form a major part of the local economy, with farming and fishing being popular activities in the coastal lowlands. To meet the growing population’s food demands, an abattoir was constructed in 2013.
Transportation challenges hinder market participation, with heavy traffic and poor roads affecting traders. A study highlighted that many business owners lacked knowledge of cash management procedures, indicating the need for training and capacity-building. Hygienic storage and preservation of goods were also concerns among sellers, with issues like low profits, competition, and limited funds for expansion plaguing the market.
NGOs like the Ghana Rural Action Support Program (GRASP) have initiated micro-finance loans, particularly for women, to empower them economically. However, research suggested that initial loan amounts were insufficient, recommending increased loan amounts, longer repayment periods, and technology adoption for improved productivity as potential solutions.