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Ghana

Ghana, previously known as the Gold Coast, is in West Africa. It borders Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso and the Gulf of Guinea. Ghana, a former British colony, was the first region in Sub-Saharan Africa where Europeans came to trade. Trade commodities included gold and soon after, slaves (16th - 19th centuries). It was the first black African nation to receive independence in this region. Independence was gained in 1957 under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana has always been the African model for political and economic reform. Its peacekeeping troops have been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the DRC and the Ivory Coast. Ghana’s rich history is visible with its 42 European forts and castles, the most popular ones

being Elmina and Cape Coast castles. In the past, Elmina was used as slave shipping centre. Ghana is a colourful nation, with its different traditional festivals and colourful clothing. Similar to many African countries, Ghana has numerous open markets, where one can enjoy the sights and sounds of African bazaars. Although Ghana’s national parks and game reserves are much smaller than those of other African countries, they shelter a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, lions and elephants. Accra, Ghana's capital city, is known for its National Museum and the Centre for National Culture, where arts and crafts (including traditional cloths such as the colourful kente) can be bought. The popular Makola Market of Accra, run mainly by powerful women traders, has everything for everyone, from West African cookery and medicines to manufactured and imported goods. There are six main ethnic groups in Ghana, including the Akan (Ashanti and Fanti) and the Ewe. Ghana is described as the land of festivals, music and traditional dances. In Ghana, soups and stews are the main component of Ghanaian cuisine, often eaten with fufu.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Ghana's Flag

Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green with a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia.

Nationality: Ghanaian

Capital: Accra

Population: 22,409,572 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 38.8%
  • 15-64 years: 57.7%
  • 65 years and over: 3.5% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.07% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 74.8% of the population is literate (male: 82.7%, female: 67.1%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Christian 63%, Muslim 16%, indigenous beliefs 21%

Languages: English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)

Quick Facts
Area:
  • total: 239,460 sq km
  • land: 230,940 sq km
  • water: 8,520 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: half the size of Yukon Territory

Natural resources: gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone

Environmental Issues: frequent drought in north severely affects agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water

Economy


Ghana’s per capita output is twice of that of other poorer nations in West Africa, due to their large amounts of natural resources. Gold, timber and cocoa production are the main sources of foreign exchange. Cocoa exports are an integral part of this economy, retaining its position as the world’s second-largest cocoa producer. Subsistence agriculture produces 34% of GDP and involves 60% of the Ghanaian work force. Ghana is part of a G-8 debt relief program and is currently working towards tightening monetary and fiscal policies, improving social services and increasing privatization. The gold sector contributed in maintaining GDP growth in 2005. Ghana is one of the candidates to receive assistance from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funding. If successful, Ghana will use this assistance to create change in their agricultural export sector specifically. In the meantime, Ghana is still dependent on international financial and technical assistance.


Major industries:

  • mining
  • lumbering
  • light manufacturing
  • aluminum smelting
  • food processing
  • cement
  • small commercial ship building

Agricultural products:

  • cocoa
  • rice
  • coffee
  • cassava (tapioca)
  • peanuts
  • corn
  • shea nuts
  • bananas
  • timber

Oil production: 7,433 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Railways: 953 km

Road map: 47,787 km (paved: 8,563 km, unpaved: 39,224 km)

Currency: Cedi

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 313,300 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 1.695 million (2004)

Television Stations: 10 (2001)

Radio Stations: AM 0, FM 49, shortwave 3 (2001)

Internet users: 368,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 3.1% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 350,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/gh.html