The economic activities of the city of Kumasi can be grouped into three main categories.  These are namely: Agriculture, Industry and Commerce and the Service Sector.

The Sectors of the Metropolitan Economy

The KMA is made up of the formal and the informal sectors. The Formal sector is characterized by businesses with corporate ownership, large-scale operation, capital–intensive and the use of sophisticated technology and the good access to infrastructure and land.

The informal sector structure of Kumasi is “a confusing maze of thousands of tiny workshops and enterprises producing everything under the sun, with a complicated distribution and communication network at their disposal”. Kumasi’s informal sector contributes so much to the total city economy

The major sectors of the economy fall under Trade/ Commerce/Services which accounts for about 71%, Manufacturing/Industry which takes up of 24% and the Primary Production sector which takes only 5%. 

Primary Production

The primary production sector of the metropolis is made up of urban agriculture and quarrying/sand winning. The agricultural sector, which is made up of farming, aquaculture, horticulture etc is limited to production of staple crops including maize, plantain, cocoyam, cassava, vegetables and nursery of industrial crops mainly oil palm, citrus fruits. There is also specialization in the distribution of food crops which are brought in from other parts of the country.

Manufacturing/ Industry

The Industrial Sector is made up of manufacturing (breweries, beverages) and wood processing (plywood, boards). Most of the industries are located in the Asokwa-Ahinsan-Kaase industrial area, the hub of large-scale formal industries.  There is Vehicular parts production and service industry located at Suame Magazine which is the second largest industrial area in the metropolis.

The Informal production sector consists of Woodworking industries which are into the production of furniture located mainly at Anloga and Sokoban.  There are pockets of wood workers who are also scattered metro-wide. Petty commodity production (carving, weaving and pottery) are also located at Ahwia.  However, there is a decline in industry due to high cost of production resulting from high energy cost and cheap imports. There is also a vibrant construction industry in the metropolis.

Service (Trade/Commerce) Sector  

Consists of an integrated system of markets at Adum CBD, Kumasi Central Market (single largest market in West Africa) with linkages to the satellite markets at Asafo, Bantama, Asawase, Ayigya, Ahinsan, Oforikrom, Tafo, Atonsu-Agogo, Santasi, Suame, Amakom, Bomso and Tarkwa, etc. In addition to these, Banking, Insurance, Transportation, Hotels, Restaurants and Traditional caterers (chop bars) and other Tourist sites are found in the city.   

Major Economic Activities

Although many people in Kumasi are engaged in a form of employment (Employment level 86 percent) either with the private or public sector about 60 per cent of residents still have a lower standard of living resulting from low incomes.

Kumasi is predominantly a trade/commerce (service economy inclusive) with an employment level of 71 per cent.  This is followed by industry and agriculture with employment levels of 24 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.  Kumasi has therefore established itself as a major commercial centre.  Commercial activity is centred on wholesaling and retailing.  Both banking and non-banking financial institutions also offer ancillary services.  

Other areas worth mentioning are the professionals in planning, medicine, engineering, teaching and law practice.  Another group of service providers are hairdressers and dressmaker/tailors.  The formal estate of large industries located along the Asokwa-Ahinsan-Kaase stretch is engaged in timber milling and plywood manufacturing for the local market and export.

The famous Suame Magazine where small engineering based industries are sited contributes immensely to the economy of the metropolis. The woodworking business at Anloga produce to meet the needs of residents as well as clients from Accra and other parts of the country and neighbouring  countries of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mali.

Another area of interest is the handicraft-industry.  This includes basket weavers, potters, wood carvers and cane weavers.

Agriculture is practised on a limited scale.  Crop farming is along valleys of rivers and streams that traverse the metropolis.  It is also carried out in open backyards and in the peri-urban areas as well as animal production in sheep/goats, cattle, poultry and fish farming.  

The KMA in collaboration with the NBSSI and some NGOs have undertaken series of skill and entrepreneurial training programmes aimed at enhancing the capacity of operators in the informal sector.

Economic Infrastructure

Transportation is generally the means to move goods and people from one point to another through a medium.  The medium can be either by air, water, land or rail. Kumasi is strategically located in the country.  It is 270km North-West of Accra and almost the hub of urbanized and densely inhabited Ghana. Considering the fact that the three Northern Regions of the country are sparsely populated, there is the need to travel to, from and through Kumasi from the north to the south of the country.

Kumasi is land locked. Though there are rivers and streams flowing through the city, their size and environmental conditions do not support any water-based travel. At present, there are three modal choices to commute between Kumasi and all parts of the country as well as neighbouring countries in the West African Sub – Region and the rest of the World, which it provides with various goods and services via its Kejetia transport terminal and other transport terminals.  These are:

Air travel at scheduled times

Rail travel at scheduled times

Road travel through the use of the arterial road network.

Road transportation has been dominant in Kumasi, since air and rail transports just account for less than one per cent of the daily movements of goods and persons within the Metropolis.  The road network is radial with Kejetia and Adum being the hub of the network.  All the major arterials such as the Accra Road, Mampong Road, Sunyani Road and Offinso Road radiate from the Kejetia/Adum area, which forms the core of the central business district (CBD).

Air Travel

Kumasi has one airport located in the Manhyia Sub Metropolitan area. This airport supports all air travel to and from the city.  It is presently being underutilised.  However access to and from the airport is excellent.  There is the urgent need to upgrade the facilities at the airport to support and expand operation that would increase the level of accessibility of the metropolis. 

There is some form of encroachment on the airport lands and this will limit its capacity for expansion if not checked. There are presently two private airlines operating domestic passenger services for people traveling to and from Kumasi. These are Antrak Air and City Link.  They operate at scheduled times of the day. It will be the desire of the metropolis to have air travel every hour. There is the need to do detailed assessment on the needs of the airport to support external and very vibrant domestic travels.          
Rail Based Travel

The Ghana Railway Company operates passenger rail service between Ejisu and Kumasi and also between Takoradi and Kumasi daily. It would be the expectation of the metropolis that there exists a passenger rail service that would be reliable, regular, scheduled and at more frequent intervals during each working day. There will be the need to upgrade the rail infrastructure and structures that will support an improved service and  the conditions of the rail network.  The structures are old and need urgent rehabilitation.  These structures are located in the heart of the metropolis and have the potential to positively contribute to the transport improvement in the metropolis.

Road Based Travel

The current state of the road network is as follows;
Inventoried Road Length            846km
Unpaved Road Length               575km
Paved Road Length                    271km
Asphalted Surface                      100km
Bitumen                                       171km

Graph 1 indicates the variations in the conditions of the road network in the years 2001 through to 2003.

The strategic location of Kumasi has attracted a lot of through traffic from other parts of the country, from the north to the south and from the east to the west of the country.  This and other factors have contributed to the growth in traffic on our arterial roads to levels that are unacceptable.  There has been a lot of congestion at the junctions and roundabouts in the metropolis.  The arterial road network as it exists today has not been completed as part of the ring road has not been constructed i.e the Oforikrom-Asokwa By-pass.  All the intersections of the arterial road network are at grade and this contributes greatly to the congestion being experienced in the metropolis.

There is the need to upgrade almost all the junctions in the metropolis to accommodate the increasing levels of traffic at these locations.  There are plans to construct interchanges at all the major junctions to separate the traffic movement in space.  There is also the added problem of capacity along some of the arterial roads in the network and studies are presently on -going to help.

Fig. 5 shows the arterial road map of the city of Kumasi.   The black link indicates the missing link in the road network. Most of the arterial roads are dual carriageways and there are on-going studies to ascertain the need to dualise the remaining critical ones.

There are also some critical intersections in the road network that have exceeded their capacity and there is the need to upgrade them to grade separated interchanges to enhance movement at these bottlenecks.  Some studies have been conducted and in some cases designs have been made already.  

Fig. 6 gives an update on the status of the Arterial Development Program of the Roads Department.  It also outlines the identified intersections that have exceeded their capacities.

The identified intersections are those that may have exceeded their capacity and it is proposed that they are upgraded into grade-separated junctions.  Due to the central location of Kumasi all major roads that connect Kumasi meet the ring road at a point and at grade, as traffic levels have increased over the years the capacities of these intersections have been exceeded.  In our Interchange Development Program the Roads Department has earmarked almost all these intersections as potential interchange sites as indicated on the map.

Earlier studies conducted in the city have indicated that a significant proportion of traffic at these intersections could be avoided if some of the critical links that are indicated in the road map of Kumasi have been constructed.  There are plans to construct two other ring roads to help redistribute traffic in the city and also to re-direct unwanted traffic  from the city, as vehicles traverse the length and breadth of the country.

Kumasi is a city that is in competition with other cities in the country and the sub region of Africa as a prime investment destination and this does influence how Kumasi’s face is portrayed.  As Kumasi prepares to take on the status of a world city there are certain critical arterial road infrastructure that needs to be provided to make Kumasi a legible city that the first time visitor or investor would be pleased and safe to move in unattended.  The arterial road network gives the visitor the image of the city, its clarity and legibility and therefore Kumasi's face is her fortune.

Traveling Within the City of Kumasi

The predominant means of travel within the city is by use of the road.  The city has been planned with Arterial Roads, as has been described above, Collector Roads, the roads that link the arterial road network and local roads, as the name suggests are roads that link residences to the collectors and within local communities.  

Roads must be developed to enable transport serve new development to help promote economic growth in the local communities. It should help provide affordable and accessible transport that will help people escape the poverty trap.

Road development in the local areas must be made to facilitate non-motorized travel, creating easier access for pedestrians and the vulnerable groups in favour of motorized transport.

Characteristics of Traffic in Kumasi
Within the CBD

The Central Business district (CBD) of Kumasi covers the land area including the Central Market, Adum, the Asafo Market and its lorry park, the Kejetia Lorry Park, the National Cultural Centre, and the Post Office/Ministry Area.  The Central Market and the Kejetia Lorry Park constitute the heart of the CBD and together they generate huge traffic that traverse not only beyond the Metropolis but the region as well.  Recent studies allude to the fact that more than 60% of all trips undertaken in Kumasi end at Kejetia.

The CBD is characterised by too many taxis and too few large buses.  For example, cars and taxis together form about 70% of the traffic mix, yet they account for less than 30% of all person trips.  In comparison, though trotro/light buses and heavy buses together constitute about 23% of the traffic mix, they cater for about 62% of all person trips to and from the CBD.  

There is therefore the general uneconomic use of road space by low occupancy vehicles (LOVs) in the transportation of persons to and from the CBD and this significantly contributes to the high traffic congestion levels in the CBD.  Over 90% of the traffic in Kumasi is made of taxis, private cars and mini-buses/trootro.  Pedestrian-vehicular conflicts are high within the CBD, producing in its wake high pedestrian accidents and severe traffic congestion.  Long vehicular queues at intersections are commonplace during the peak traffic periods of the day.  These are exemplified at the Asafo Market Roundabout area along the Accra Road, the UTC Overhead Bridge, the Museum Junction, KMA Junction and Bantama Junction near the Zoo.

Parking demand within the CBD far exceeds supply leading to indiscriminate parking Unlike the Prempeh II Street at Adum where most vehicles are seen parked in orderly manner, there is the general uncontrolled on-street parking on most of the roads around the Central Market along the Fuller Road in front of the market and along Odumasi Road at Alabar.  Since June 2006 parking within the Adum CBD is regulated and fees are charged three thousand cedis (¢3,000.00) on hourly basis from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm

Outside the CBD

The traffic and transportation situation outside the CBD is completely different from what pertains within the CBD. Generally, the road network outside the CBD is characterised by missing road links, badly deteriorated paved local roads, lack of interconnecting road links imposed by major streams, intersection capacity restraints and lack of an outer by-pass to take extraneous and through traffic away from the city centre so as to reduce congestion and improve traffic operations within Kumasi. 

Most of the local paved roads in the suburbs such as Old Amakom, North and South Suntreso,  Asawase, Suame and the like, have badly deteriorated simply because the roads have exceeded their physical and economic life spans and also for reason that there has been a general lack of systematic maintenance of such roads. Recent traffic studies carried out by the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) for the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) gave credence to the rather high peak-hour traffic flows on road links and intersections outside the CBD. 

In New Residential Areas

The road and traffic conditions in most of the New Residential Areas in Kumasi such as Atimatim, Buokrom, Odeneho Kwadaso, TUC, Pankrono Estate are generally poor. The road networks have not been engineered and are characterised by badly deteriorated unpaved roads and poor drainage conditions. Although, traffic is generally light on these roads, the travel speeds are unacceptably low (i.e. less than 10 km/hr), stemming from the poor nature of the roads. The riding surface is usually laterite that had developed potholes, gullies and depressions. The transportation system within the metropolis will thus get a boost if the major collectors/distributors of the road network in the outlying and newly developed residential areas are improved upon to raise the level of accessibility to such areas.

The Ring Road System

There is only one main ring road in Kumasi, comprising the Eastern Bypass, Okomfo Anokye Road and the Western Bypass. Major roundabouts interconnect these road segments. The existing ring road system is incomplete due to the absence of the Asokwa Bypass and this greatly affects traffic circulation in Kumasi. The missing road link which is about 3.12km, has created a serious gap in the road network system and must be constructed so as to derive maximum benefits from the ring road system.  (See the road map in Fig. 5)

Urban Public Transport

In Kumasi, public transportation is currently offered by trotros (mini-buses) and taxis for people without private means of transport. The trotros or mini-buses are the major carriers of passengers accounting for more than sixty per cent of the passenger-kilometres within the metropolis. The services rendered by the trotros are however perceived to be generally poor in quality. Meanwhile, the use of large buses for passenger transportation in Kumasi is virtually absent.

However under the Government’s Mass Transportation policy a number of high capacity buses have been introduced under the Metro Mass Transit.  They mostly ply from the Kejetia Transport Terminal to the outlying settlements as well as the adjoining districts. 

Pedestrians are indeed vulnerable, since over 75% of all road users killed in road traffic accidents in Kumasi were pedestrians, of which 30% were children below the age of 16 years. An efficient and systematic approach to accident prevention and mitigation is therefore clearly desirable. The object must be to improve pedestrian safety in general and child pedestrian safety in particular.

Problems with Transportation in Kumasi

The transportation problems in Kumasi can be summarized as follows:
i.    The road network is characterized by missing road links, badly deteriorated surface dressed roads in the suburbs, lack of interconnecting road links, and unpaved roads in the newly established residential areas;
ii.   Only about 35% of the 430 kilometres road network can be classified as “good”.
iii.    Severe congestion and delays are experienced at the CBD due to inadequate intersection capacities, over concentration of commercial activities, and massive vehicular-pedestrian interactions;
iv.    There is the general lack of parking space, and the uneconomic use of road space in the CBD, precipitated by too many taxis and cars but too few large buses for passenger transportation;
v.    There is the lack of an outer by-pass to take extraneous and through traffic away from the CBD;
vi.  There is generally poor accessibility to newly developed residential areas;
vii.    Pedestrians, particularly child-pedestrians, are greatly at risk in road traffic in Kumasi.

Ultimately, the city would want to focus on the following to improve transportation.

To deliver an integrated transport system which provides for economic and social needs of the city of Kumasi

To promote more sustainable transport choice in the city of Kumasi strengthening the town centers in each local area

To reduce the travel time especially by car by improving and strengthening the town centres in each local area

Network and Status of Supply

The energy sector has the following components: electricity, wood fuels (ie. Charcoal, fuel wood and sawdust) and petroleum products (ie. petrol, diesel oil, liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene).   


The monthly electrical energy consumption is averagely 120MW.  Major consumers include the two breweries, a bottling plant, over 50 wood processing plants, hotels and Suame Magazine foundry.  The sensitive customers include Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Owabi and Barekese Water Works.

Kumasi has 5 bulk supply points with 231km of overhead lines and 140.6km underground cables.  The status of electricity supply from the grid to the various parts of the metropolis is generally good.  There is a 31 per cent overloading at one of the primary stations and this situation must be addressed.

To enhance the delivery of quality supply of energy to its customers in the metropolis the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has embarked on a successful upgrading of its primary stations. These include;

Upgrading of main station ‘ B’at Adoato of two (2) 10MVA power transformers to two (2) 20 MVA power transformers.

Replacement of 11kV switchgears at main station ‘B’ at Adoato.

Facelift at main station ‘E’ at Suame Magazine with an additional 10MVA power transformer to the existing 10MVA

Construction of additional overhead line feeders to reduce incidence of load shedding at the main station at ‘E’ at Suame.

In order to enhance safe operations to main station ‘B’ and main station ‘E’ plans are afoot to augment the existing cables with 1x500mm2 copper cable by the end of 2006 from; Main station ‘A’ to main station ‘B’ and main station ‘A’ to main station ‘C’. In September, 2006 the city experienced irregular power supply due to the national load shedding exercise because of the low level of water in the Volta Lake. Even though this exercise is nationwide it has very serious repercussions on the development of all the sectors of the economy, as alternatives to electric power generation tend to be very expensive.

Domestic Fuel

The supply of charcoal to the metropolis comes from three main sources: 60 per cent from Nkoranza-Kintampo areas, 30 per cent from Ejura-Mampong areas and the remaining 10 per cent is produced within the metropolis using sawmill residue.  About 80 per cent of the population depends on charcoal for their domestic cooking and heating but almost all households use charcoal to some extent.  Daily per capita consumption of charcoal is put at 0.5kg.

Fuel wood is used by about 10 per cent of households even though it is the main fuel source for commercial and informal sector activities like bakers, “chop bars” and soap manufacturers.  The use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas has however increased slightly to about 10 per cent.  This could have been higher but for the irregular supply and high cost.

Key Challenges

The rate of development of the city has far outpaced the rate of extension of electric power.  This has resulted in overloading feeders and transformers. Issues such as the periodic shortage of critical materials, faulty meters and the high number of un-metered premises also affect revenue targets.  Another area of concern is the high cost of domestic fuel and environmental pollution resulting from charcoal burning.  

The cumulative effect of these problems is very poor customer services, manifesting in unreliable supply of electricity and its related problems.  In spite of these constraints there are opportunities to be exploited, among others are;

Increasing customer demand

The presence of independent power producers to ensure adequate supply

Establishment of Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC)

Market Infrastructure

It has the single largest traditional market in West Africa called the Kumasi Central Market.  It can boast of over 10,000 stores and stalls fully occupied by traders dealing in every conceivable product.  Additionally, the city has about twenty-eight (28) satellite markets. There are however plans underway to develop some of them to be modern markets.

Financial Institutions

There are several financial institutions in the Metropolis. They include the Bank of Ghana, Insurance Companies, Forex Bureau as well as Rural Banks and these have multiple branches in the city providing financial services to the people in and around the City.

Hotel Infrastructure

There are a number of hotels, restaurants and traditional catering facilities with a wide variety of menu both continental and local dishes).  Travel and Tour Agencies as well as tour guides exist to provide auxiliary services.  The importance of this sub-sector to the metropolitan economy cannot therefore be overstated.  It has the potential to contribute immensely to its growth in terms of revenue generation and employment creation.

Night Life 

It has a vibrant nightlife especially during weekends.

Little publication/marketing of our tourist sites

Inadequate advertisement of the city’s tourism potentials

Lack of funds and commitment of city authorities to develop   tourism in Kumasi. 

Tourism development is under a sector ministry and therefore national in    character.


Existence of Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations

Existence of numerous travel and tour agencies and hotels

Inter/Intra Trade

The importance of commercial activities and its contribution to the region and the nation as a whole cannot be underrated. The city has the largest single market in Ghana, which is the Central Market.  This market serves as a commercial nerve centre for the entire nation and  beyond.  It’s proximity to Kejetia, the Central Lorry Park makes it easily accessible from all walks of life.  Goods traded here include local and foreign luxury goods, local food items and imported goods.  The market is also the centre of second-hand clothing in the country. 

Apart from the Central Market, the Asawasi market also serves as an international market where kola nuts and maize are traded in and sent to other West African countries like Mali, Burkina-Faso and Niger.  Adum is the main commercial centre for wholesale and retail activities.  The goods traded are imported from countries in Europe, America, Africa and the Far East.

Challenges to Local Economic Development (LED)

There are a number of challenges confronting the LED sector of the city, which would form part of the strategic development objectives for the achievement of the overall vision.

Congestion of the Central Business District (CBD) and principal streets by hawkers leading to pedestrianisation.

Inadequate parking spaces in the metropolis, especially in the CBD

Undeveloped, yet few satellite markets making them unattractive for commercial activities

Uneven distribution of both banking and non-banking financial institutions in space

Entrenched bureaucratic bottlenecks in accessing formal sector credit

Dominance of small scale businesses whose growth has been hampered by low capital base

Low levels of technology as a bane to the city’s industrial take-off

Weak institutional linkages between Suame Magazine and other garages and the KNUST College of Engineering, Kumasi Polytechnic and the Kumasi Technical Institute

Dearth of entrepreneurial skills

Development of agriculture greatly hampered by the high demand for residential and commercial land use

Low levels of income of farmers precipitated by low prices of agricultural produce

High cost of agric inputs

Limited agro processing.

Investment And Business Potential

Agricultural production is mainly undertaken for home consumption in the metropolis, despite the huge demand for food by the large and relatively affluent urban populace. Therefore, modern agricultural activity on a large scale would find a ready large urban market demand for food produce.

The existing cultivation of exotic vegetables, such as cabbage, lettuce and carrots, which is still done on a limited scale, could be expanded into medium scale “market gardening” to serve the foreign population and the urban elite.Industrial activity is well developed in the Kumasi metropolis, but there are plenty of opportunities yet not fully tapped.

Sand and stone winning at the periphery of the metropolis serves as a major source of building materials for housing development, as well as road construction. Importantly, there are several quarrying industries in the neighbouring Kwabre District. There exists great potential for the development of functional linkages between the formal and informal sector industries, especially in the wood-based sector.

An already existing large urban population serves as a source of ready market for industrial and consumer products, especially those in the informal and home-based sector. Another opportunity derives from the development of industrial estates for artisans and this has been most successful, with vehicle mechanics at the now renowned Suame Magazine, which is a clear example of how well this concept can work in the Kumasi metropolis.

The currently under-utilised sub-urban centres also offer investment opportunities for those willing to provide facilities for shopping and commuting, both of which would decongest the central area of Kumasi. With improvements in the road networks private participation in the expansion and improvement of freight and passenger transport services can be enhanced.

Private participation would also be important in the commercialisation of parking lots within the Central Business District of the metropolis. There is an increasing demand for information in the Kumasi metropolis, for both personal and business purposes of local, national and international dimensions. There is also high and increasing demand for telephone services and lots of opportunities for private sector participation in the telecommunication business.

Natural reserves in the metropolis can be developed into ornamental parks, economic horticultural centres and recreational resorts. The widely discussed Race Course can be re-developed into a modern sports complex to offer recreational facilities for the urban population and housing estates can be developed to meet the rising demand for housing in the metropolis.

Financial Institutions

There are several Financial and Insurance companies in the city. These include:

Bank of Ghana, 
Standard Chartered, 
Barclays Bank, 
Rural Banks

Forex bureau and other Production and Marketing Centres.


Date Created : 11/28/2017 5:22:04 AM