City profile: Wa, Ghana

Abubakari Ahmed*, Prosper Issahaku Korah, Alfred Dongzagla, Abraham Marshall Nunbogu, Rockson Niminga-Beka, E.D. Kuusaana, Z. Abubakari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The UN-Habitat III has placed secondary cities at the centre of the new urban agenda, given their roles in global development trajectories in the future. Wa, though a small city, is an important growth pole in North-western Ghana. Wa emerged as a trading town in the colonial era and since independence in 1957 has become a key growth centre in the development of North-western Ghana. However, the confluence of environmental vulnerabilities and pre-existing social inequalities resulting from centuries of colonial and post-colonial neglects, have led to increasing contestations and socio-ecological challenges. We profiled Wa through the lens of Southern urbanism and highlight its socio-economic, ecological and spatial development dynamics as an ordinary city of the Global South. The dynamics reflect a disconnection between capital and labour as well as contested resource flows, and these have implications for a transformative and sustainable urban future. Through this profile, postcolonial urban studies of the Global South must reconsider deepening empirical methods and theories in addressing this unique problem-space. A transformative and sustainable urban future of Wa remains counterproductive if postcolonial urban studies do not engage with unique paradigms of the Global South in understanding and planning cities of the South.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102524
Number of pages14
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Wa
  • Southern Urbanism
  • New Urban Agenda
  • Secondary Cities
  • Small cities
  • Ghana
  • n/a OA procedure

Cite this