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Tema is a city on the Bight of Benin and Atlantic Coast of Ghana. It is located 25 kilometres (16 miles) east of the capital city; Accra, in the region of Greater Accra, and is the capital of the Tema Metropolitan District. As of 2013, Tema is the eleventh most populous settlement in Ghana, with a population of approximately 161,612 people – a marked decrease from its 2005 figure of 209,000. The Greenwich Meridian (00 Longitude) passes directly through the city. Tema is locally nicknamed the "Harbour City" because of its status as Ghana's largest seaport. It consists of 25 different communities which are numbered accordingly with each of them having easy access to the basic amenities.

Tema is a city constructed on the site of a small fishing village. Tema was commissioned by Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, and grew rapidly after the construction of a large harbour in 1961. The Tema metropolis was designed, planned and developed by the award-winning urban planner and Ghana's first architect, Theodore S. Clerk.  It is now a major trading centre, home to an oil refinery and numerous factories, and is linked to Accra by a highway and railway. Tema is one of Ghana's two deep seaports, the other being Sekondi-Takoradi. Tema became an Autonomous Council in 1974 and was elevated to the status of a Metropolitan Assembly in December 1990. Tema metropolitan forms part of the sixteen (16) Metropolis, Municipalities and Districts in the Greater Accra Region. The Metropolitan shares boundaries with Ashaiman Municipal, Adenta Municipal District, and Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal District to the west respectively, to the east with Kpone Katamanso District, to the North with Dangme West District and to the South with the Gulf of Guinea.

Tema was built on the site of a small fishing village called Torman, named for the local name of the calabash plant, "Tor", which was cultivated there. "Tema" is derived from a corruption of "Torman". The government identified the site before independence, and in 1952 acquired 166 square kilometers (64 sq mi) of land north of the harbour, which was entrusted to the Tema Development Corporation for the new industrial and residential development. The villagers of Torman migrated to a new fishing ground around 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) away, which they called Newtown.

The main Tema Township was constructed, and the Tema Harbor officially opened, in 1962. Over the following decades, Tema grew into the industrial hub of Ghana, with a carefully constructed road layout featuring landscaping and street lights. It boasted modern recreational centres and other social amenities rare among African cities at the time. President Nkrumah appointed Theophilus Asiaw Mills as the first District Commissioner. The importance of Tema as a port and industrial hub is reflected by the fact that the Ghana Police Service maintains a special policing region devoted entirely to the city.

A large population influx began in the 1960s owing to the town's employment opportunities, but the Tema Development Corporation was unable to construct housing and provide other services to meet the needs of the migrants. The Tema Newtown district was overwhelmed by the sudden population growth, and became the poor cousin of Tema Township, receiving none of the latter's improved housing, geometrically laid roads, or social amenities. Moreover, royalties paid by Tema Newtown's companies to evicted villagers have not been used due to a chieftaincy disputes. The area's fishing potential was thus not fully exploited.



The town's chief industrial products include aluminium, steel, processed fish, refined petroleum, textile, chemicals, food products, and cement. Major companies operating in Tema include Volta Aluminium (VALCO), Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Nestlé Ghana Ltd., Wahome Steel Ltd, Tema Shipyard. There is also a Free zone enclave in Tema.


Tema Port, which was opened in 1962, is the biggest of the two seaports in Ghana. It has a water-enclosed area of 1.7 square kilometres (0.66 sq mi) and a total land area of 3.9 square kilometres (1.5 sq mi). Apart from handling Ghanaian imports and exports, it is also a traffic junction, dealing with transit cargo destined for the landlocked countries of Burkina FasoMali and Niger. The port of Tema handles 80% of Ghana's import and export cargo, including the country's chief export, cacao.

The port has 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) of breakwaters, 12 deepwater berths, an outsize oil tanker berth, a dockyard, warehouses, and transit sheds. The port has opened and covered areas for the storage of cargo, including a 77,200-m² (7.72-hectare) paved area for the storage of containers, steel products and other conventional cargo. The port's container yard is capable of holding over 8,000 TEUs at any given time. The closed storage area, which is about 25,049 m² (2.51 hectares) in area, consists of six sheds with a total storage capacity of 50,000 tonnes of cargo. The port also includes a 100,000-dwt dry dock and slipway facility.[11] The harbour is operated by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.


A container Terminal at Tema Port

Fishing harbour

Ghana has a long history of fishing. The Tema fishing harbour is at the eastern end of the town's commercial harbour. It comprises the Inner Fishing Harbour, the Canoe Basin, the Outer Fishing Harbour, and a commercial area with marketing and cold storage facilities.

The Inner Fishing Harbour was constructed along the Tema Main Port in 1962 to provide a handling facility for semi-industrial and industrial fishing vessels, and to encourage the development of the local fishing industry. In 1965, the Outer Fishing Harbour was constructed for bigger industrial vessels such as trawlers, tuna vessels, and deep-sea carriers. The trawlers operating in the area are 30–45 m long and are able to land 55–65 tonnes of fish (usually redfish and club and scad mackerel) per fishing trip. The tuna vessels range from smaller boats around 45–50 m in length, able to land 200–250 tonnes of catch, to larger versions with a length of 50–65 m and the ability to land up to 650 tonnes per fishing trip. The largest fishing vessels, the deep-sea carriers (with lengths of 90–105 m), are mostly chartered vessels. Since 1984, the national catch has averaged about 200,000 to 300,000 metric tonnes per annum. Ghana's tuna catch has maintained a stable level of 30,000 tonnes per annum since 1981.

The Canoe Basin caters for the artisanal fishermen. The basin is normally occupied by about 400 canoes. These are mainly two types: wooden vessels, locally called "Legelege", and metallic vessels. The wooden canoes have lengths over all (LOA) ranging between 30–70 m, mainly owned and operated by indigenous Ghanaians .Their operations peak during the months of June–September. Artisanal canoe fishing is responsible for about 70% of the catch.


Fishing Habour


SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College (SOS-HGIC), a private mixed boarding school catering to the 10th to 13th grades, is located in Tema. It previously used the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) for the 10th and 11th grades and the International Baccalaureate (IB) for the 12th and 13th grades but currently runs the full IB Diploma program for all four grades. The school was headed by Margaret Nkrumah for over 15 years, and is now headed by Mr Israel Titi Ofei and Nii Amaa Akita. Tema also has an international schoolTema International School (TIS), which is second to HGIC, and a senior high school, Tema Secondary School (TSS or Temasco), which was built in 22 September 1961. Tema has a number of public Secondary schools such as Chemu Senior High School in Community 4Tema Methodist Day School, Mahean Senior High School, Our Lady of Mercy Senior High School and Tema Technical Institute. Private Preparatory Schools like Creator Schools, St Paul Methodist Primary and JHS, Marbs Preparatory School, Datus School Complex, Deks Educational Institute, Angel School Complex, Naylor SDA School, Tema Christian Centre, Tema Parents Association, First Baptist School, Tema Regular Baptist School, Queen Esther School, Dorsons School, Adwen Memorial, Creator Montessori, New Covenant School, St Alban's School, Lorenz Wolf School, Bexhill School Complex, Life International School, Mazon Grace Academy, Santabarbera School, Angels Specialist School, First Star Academy, Pentecost School, Star School Complex, Tema Ridge, St John Bosco School and Rosharon School. Public primary and Junior High schools exist in Tema. Twedaase Primary School, Star School, Aggrey Road School, Republic Road School, Padmore School, Mante Din Drive, Amen Basic, Manhean SDA, School among others.


The culture of the people of Tema is seen in their way of life. These include their inherited ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge. Since culture is dynamic in nature it must be noted that some practices of the people have undergone major changes over the years.


Traditional Set Up

Tema was created out of a cluster of small fishing villages. History has it that “Torman”, as it was originally called was founded by migrating people called the ‘Kpeshie’s’ who were Gas. They brought along seeds of the gourd plant, which they planted at their new-found site. The seeds thrived very well producing lots of gourds and the area was referred to as “Torman”, meaning a town of gourds, which stood at where the defunct Meridian Hotel is located. The traditional people were later relocated to their present location at Tema Manhean in 1961 when the Tema Habour was constructed.


Currently, there are two major traditional areas in the Tema Metropolitan Area, namely Tema (Newtown) and Nungua. The traditional festivals celebrated by the people are namely Kpledzoo and Homowo. “Kpledzoo” is celebrated between March and April whiles “Homowo”, which literally means Hooting at hunger is celebrated from August to September every year. During these festivals people from all walks of life in the traditional area are brought together for the celebration. The indigenous occupation of the people is fishing and it is forbidden for fishermen to go to sea on Tuesdays. This deprives fishmongers and others engaged in fishing activities of their income for the day, and as such some form of revenue is lost to the Assembly.


Ethnic Diversity

The original settlers of Tema are the Ga-Dangmes. However, because it is a popular destination of migrants, several ethnic groups can be found here. The dominant ethnic groups are the Akan, Ga-Dangme and Ewe. Other fairly well represented groups are the Mole-Dagbani and the Guans. The diverse nature of the inhabitants fosters interethnic tolerance and social solidarity that has promoted peace and harmony in the district. This has also reduced ethnocentrism.


Communal Spirit

The communal spirit of the people in Tema depends on one’s location. Settlers in the township find it difficult to respond to calls for community mobilization especially those living in the various communities because of the more formal relationships that exist there. However, for those in the rural communities they respond on the average to calls from their chiefs, elders and Assembly members to participate in communal labour. They also pay up levies for purposes of development in their respective communities.


Religious Groups

The religious composition of the Metropolis is diverse in nature since the inhabitants are of varied backgrounds. The prominent amongst them are Christians, Moslems and Traditional religion. Against this background, the churches and mosques are known to be a good mobilization grounds for information dissemination for development. For instance, occasionally, the Assembly distributes its bye-laws and flyers through the churches.

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