Overview of the Influence of Natural Resources and Population Distribution on Spatial Development in Ghana

Francis Issahaku Malongza Bukari, Raymond Aabeyir, Prosper Laari Basommi


The quality of spatial locations for the settlement of human populations depends on the ability to support livelihoods and improvements in the standard of living and quality of life. This is partly made possible by the availability, quality and quantity of natural resources distribution. The purpose of this study is therefore to present a picture to governments and other development practitioners on how theory could be used to explain the causes and solutions to unequal spatial development, in the context of natural resources and population distribution in Ghana. This study seeks to go beyond the mere examination of the distribution of natural resources and population to establish how the two influence each other in the coastal, forest and savannah belts of Ghana, and the resultant effects on the development of the regions and the country as a whole. It is basically the outcome of content analysis of secondary data, supported by primary data from informal conversations and observations. This involved the review of relevant literature from textbooks, articles and the internet, accidental sampling of participants and transect walks. The analysis was guided by a theoretical framework, with a blend of quantitative and qualitative methods. The results revealed that the distribution of the various resources over the various zones of Ghana is uneven. This has contributed to the disparities in the distribution of population and spatial development in the country. The coastal and forest belts have well exploited resources with active formal sector participation, as well as higher population densities than the savannah zone. Theoretical approaches like the growth pole, functional spatial integration and decentralized territorial development models provided explanations of the causes and solutions to the problem of spatial disparities in development among the regions of Ghana. It was concluded that natural resource availability did not only influence the emergence of growth poles, but also the level of spatial integration and the decentralization of functions. Also, population distribution, the centrality of cities and spatial development increased with increasing levels of natural resources, and hence the coastal and forest belts of Ghana are more favoured than the savannah belt.

Key words: Natural resources, Population, Spatial Development, Ghana.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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