Tamale (pronounced [ˈtamalɛ]) with a population of 360,579 (2007), is the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana and the Tamale Metropolitan District with which it is coterminous Area. The city is located 600 km north of Accra. It is mostly populated by Dagomba people who speak Dagbani and are followers of Islam, as reflected by the multitude of mosques in the city, most notably the central mosque.
Located in the northern part of the country, the city is like a conglomeration of villages where one can find an architectural blend of traditional mud houses and modern buildings. While the majority of the houses are roofed with corrugated iron sheets, a good number of them are roofed with grass. Many of these mud block compounds have TV antennae and electricity wires. The University for Development Studies has a campus located in Tamale.
Due to its central location, Tamale serves as a hub for all administrative and commercial activities in the region, doubling as the political, economic and financial capital of the region. The center of Tamale hosts regional branches of Ghana's financial institutions and a considerable number of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), CARE International, ActionAid and World Vision, so much so that Tamale is often referred to as the NGO capital of Ghana.
Tamale has developed and transformed very fast within the last few years and is reputed to be the fastest growing city in West Africa. The new dimension of Tamale's development is the rush by various companies to open branches in the city. The hospitality industry has grown significantly with new hotels and guest houses built around the city. Amongst Tamale's new and modern facilities include the newly-constructed Tamale Stadium, replacing the city's former principal football pitch, Kaladan Park, with a world-class venue. Indeed, many improvements to Tamale's infrastructure occurred in the period leading up to the 2008 African Cup of Nations tournament. Further improvements were made, particularly to Tamale's road system.