The Gold Coast (the present Ghana) has had a very long European connection, with the Portuguese establishing a trading post in the Western Coast in the 15th Century They were replaced by the Dutch in the 17th Century when the trade in goods was replaced by the more lucrative but inhuman slave trade. This has left its mark in the form of slave centres along the coast of Ghana from where the slaves were shipped overseas.
The Dutch sold off their interests in the Gold Coast to the English in the later half of the 17th Century when slavery was abolished from the Empire. The British continued to rule the land till 1957, when Ghana became independent. The present Republic of Ghana is comprised of the old British Dominion of the Gold Coast and British Administered Togoland.
Situated on the West coast of Africa at latitude 4° and 11° North, and longitude 4° West and 2° East, with a land area of 238,537 square kms. The climate is tropical. Geographical regions are coastal plains with scrub, northern savannah grassland with isolated trees, and extensive rain forest across the southern and middle belts.
After the adoption of a new constitution, based on the US model, in April 1992, elections were held in 1992, in which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) headed by Mr. Rawlings won, and Mr. Rawlings was elected President of Ghana. NDC headed by Mr. Rawlings retained power in 1996 elections. However, in 2000 elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) headed by Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor came to power after defeating the NDC. In December 2004 elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) headed by Mr. Kufuor retained power and Mr. John A. Kufuor was sworn in, for his second term, on January 7, 2005
After getting independence from Britain in March 6, 1957, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) headed by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah came to power. Dr. Nkrumah became the first Prime Minister of Ghana. In 1960, after the amendment of the constitution, he became first President of Ghana. On 24 February 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown by the combined effort of the army and the police. The military regime of the National Liberation Council (NLC) headed by Lt. Gen. Ankrah, and later by Lt. Gen. Afrifa ruled Ghana till 1969, when the democratic government headed by Prof. Busia of the Progress Party as Prime Minister came to power. This government was however short-lived, and in 1972, the military government of the National Redemption Council/ Supreme Military Council, headed by Gen. Acheampong and later by Gen. F. W. K. Akuffo, seized the power. In June 1979, the revolution of junior army officers led to establishment of another military regime of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) headed by Flt. Lt. J. J. Rawlings. The AFRC, later in September 1979, handed over power to the civilian government of the People’s National Party (PNP), and Dr. Hilla Limann was elected President. This democratic government was also short-lived, and the military regime of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) headed by Flt. Lt. Rawlings, seized power on 31st December 1981. PNDC ruled Ghana till 1992.
The following is a summary of key economic information on Ghana:
Ghana commenced with liberalization of the economy under the Economic Recovery Programme in 1983. Since then Ghana’s economic performance has successfully turned around. In the decade after 1983, GDP growth averaged around 5 per cent. As a result of several policy initiatives and economic measures taken in the1990s, Ghana has been able to develop its private sector and liberalize its economy. Ghana now leads Sub-Saharan Africa as a model of economic, political and social development.
Ghana’s GDP is estimated to have grown by 7.3% during the year 2008. The huge increase in the price of crude oil and food products has had a negative impact on the economy. The rate of inflation which had fallen from about 42% in March 2002 to an average of 10.6% in 2007, again went up to 18% by end 2008. The Ghanaian currency depreciated at a fast rate during the year 2008 and has continued to depreciate during 2009.
Ghana’s main (traditional) exports are gold, cocoa and timber products. Private remittances through banks are now a major source of foreign exchange earnings.
The construction of the 400 MW Bui Hydro-electric Project, the third hydroelectric power plant of the country, commenced in August 2007. The US$ 622 million project, being undertaken by Sino-hydro Corporation of China, is scheduled for completion in 2012.
Ghana’s relations with its neighbours and other African countries are warm and cordial. Ghana is an active member of the ECOWAS, NEPAD and the AU and played an effective role as a mediator in the region’s conflicts. The government has made great efforts to project Ghana internationally as a stable and peaceful country and its policies to encourage and promote private sector investment and business are geared towards attracting foreign direct investment.
Ghana has warm and cordial relations with countries in other parts of the world including EU countries, US, Latin American and Asian countries. US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, China, Germany and France are among major donors to Ghana.
Ghana is a member of the UN and its specialized agencies, NAM, the Commonwealth, IMF, World Bank, ECOWAS, African Union, NEPAD, ADB, etc.
|1||Official name||Republic of Ghana - formerly known as "the Gold Coast.|
|2||Date of independence from Britain||March 6, 1957.|
|3||The flag||Horizontal bands of red, gold and green, with a five pointed black star in the centre of the gold.|
|4||Geographical location||West Africa, between latitude 4 45`N and 11 11`N; longitude 3 W and 0 30`E.|
|5||Borders||South by the Atlantic Ocean, West by Cote d`Ivoire, North by Burkina Faso and East by Togo.|
|7||Area||238,537 sq. kms.|
|8||Number of regions||Ten.|
|9||Capital||Accra (population estimated at 4 million).|
|10||Other major cities||Kumasi, Tema, Tamale, Cape Coast and Sekondi/Takoradi.|
|11||Time||Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). [(-) 5 ½ hours IST]|
|12||Population||23.5 million (2007 - est.).|
|13||Ethnic Groups||There are between 50 to 75 ethnic groups in Ghana: Akans - 45%, Mole-Dagbani - 15%, Ewe - 12%, and Ga-Adangbe - 7%.|
|14||Religion||Christianity (69%), Islam (15.9%), Traditional(8.5%), Others (6.9%).|
|16||Life expectancy at birth||59.12 years (2007 - est.)|
|17||Official language||English. Major local dialects; Akan (or Twi), Ewe, Dagbani, Nzema and Ga/Adangbe. In all, there are about 60 different languages.|
|18||Form of State||Unitary Republic|
|19||Legal system||A new constitution, based on the US model, was approved by referendum in April 1992.|
|20||National legislature||Parliament; 230 members elected by universal suffrage every four years.|
|21||National elections||Held in December 2008/ January 2009 (Presidential and Legislative).|
|22||Head of State||President, elected by universal suffrage for a maximum of two four year terms; Prof. John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress was sworn in as President on 7 January 2009.|
Name of Foreign/Finance/ Defence/Commerce Ministers
|Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration: Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni; Minister of Finance - Dr. Kwabena Dufuor; Minister of Defence - Lt. Gen. Joseph Henry Smith (rtd); Minister of Trade and Industry - Ms. Hannah Tetteh|
Main political parties
|National Democratic Congress - the ruling party; New Patriotic Party (NPP) - the main opposition party; other parties include the People`s National Convention (PNC) and the Convention People`s Party (CPP).|
|25||Currency||Ghana Cedi (Coins - Pesewas) Denominations - Notes: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50; Coins: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, & one Ghana Cedi|
|26||Exchange Rate||1 US$ = Ghana Cedi 1.20|
|27||Employment pattern||Agriculture 59%, Services 30 %, Industry 11%.|
|28||GDP||US$ 14.29 billion (2008 - est.)|
|29||Real GDP Growth||6.3% (2008 - est.)|
|30||Rate of Inflation||17.2% (2008 - est.)|
|31||Total External debt||US$ 5.41 billion (2008 - est.)|
|32||Gross reserves||US$ 2.33 billion (2008 - est.)|
|33||International airport||Kotoko International Airport, Accra|
|34||Major ports||Tema and Takoradi.|
|35||Roads/Railways||Roads 40,000 kms; Railways 954 kms. (2006)|
|36||Agricultural produce||Cocoa, Cassava, Maize, Coarse grains, Yam, Plantains, Pineapple, Forest produce, Coffee, Cotton, Live Stock, Fishery, Rubber.|
|37||Industries & Mining||Textile, Cement, Aluminum, Steel, Oil Refinery, Cigarettes, Timber, Beverages, Flour; Mining-Gold, Diamonds, Bauxite.|
|38||Principal exports||Traditional: Gold, Cocoa beans and products, Timber; Non-traditional: bananas, pineapples, fish and agric products. Exports primarily to Netherlands, UK, France, US and Belgium.|
|39||Total exports (f.o.b.)||US$ 5.4 billion (2008 - est.)|
|40||Principal imports||Manufactured and intermediary goods, fuels,non-fuel primary products primarily from Nigeria, China, UK, Belgium and USA.|
|41||Total imports (f.o.b.)||US$ 9.9 billion (2008 - est.)|
|42||Official Website Links||www.ghanacastle.gov.gh / www.ghana.gov.gh|
|43||Central Bank||Bank of Ghana, Accra; Governor - Dr. Paul Acquah (Tel: 00-233-21-666902/Fax: 662996)|
|44||Membership of International Organizations||Ghana is member of UN and its specialized agencies, IMF, World Bank, ICAO, IAEA, ECOWAS, NEPAD, African Union etc.|