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Ghana Country Information
Brief Historical Background
Geography
Brief Political History and Current Political Structure
Salient Features of the Economy
External Relations
Membership of International Organizations
Ghana Fact Sheet
Brief Historical Background
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.  
 
Geography
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.  
 
Brief Political History and Current Political Structure
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.
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
Presidential and Parliamentary elections were again held on 7 December 2008. A run-off election for President was held on 28 December 2008 as no Presidential candidate received the mandatory 50% plus one vote in the Presidential election. National Democratic Congress party headed by President John Evans Atta Mills won the elections. Prof. Atta Mills was sworn in as President on 7 January 2009. The position of various parties in the new Parliament is as follows: NDC - 115, NPP – 107, PNC -2, CPP -1 and Independents – 4.
Since 1992, five democratic elections have been held in Ghana, and it has enjoyed political stability. Democracy has now been firmly rooted in Ghana’s political and social structures. Ghana is a multi-party democracy and the current political parties are the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and People’s National Convention (PNC).
Ghana is a Republic with a unitary form of government. A new constitution based on the US model was approved by referendum in April 1992. Under this constitution, democratic elections were held in the years 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. Ghana has a democratically elected government with a Cabinet and a Parliament at the national level. The Council of State is the advisory body that advice the President, Ministers, Parliament and other institutions, both public and private, in the performance of their duties. However, the institutions are not bound in any way to comply with the advice. It comprises of 25 members, of whom 11 are nominated by the President, 10 are nominated from each of the regions and 4 represent institutions (these four members, a former Chief Justice, a former Chief of Defence Staff, a former Inspector of Police and a former President of the National Council of Chiefs, are ex-officio members). The elected bodies at the regional and district levels are Regional Coordinating Councils, Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies. Each of the ten regions has a Regional Minister as its head administrator. Major Current Internal Developments
Ghana reached the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) completion point in July 2004, as a result of which it is expected to save US $ 4 billion through the debt write-offs in next 20 years (this debt write-off amounts to 60% of Ghana’s present foreign debt). Paris Club creditors have already announced US $ 2 billion debt write-off, while the remaining US $ 2 billion will be written off in installments over a period of 20 years.
Ghana continues to play a leading role in international affairs. President Kufuor is a prominent regional spokesman and Ghana is positioning itself as a key proponent of the NEPAD by promoting adherence to its underlying principles such as good governance and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Ghana was one of the first countries in Africa to volunteer for peer review when the APRM was launched in March 2003. The APRM seeks to establish a self-monitoring process for African states, which will drive domestic, political and economic reforms in participating countries. The APRM, in its 3rd Summit in Nigeria on 19 June 2005 presented its report on Ghana (and Rwanda). Its conclusions for Ghana are generally positive.
During the 2008 Ghana show-cased its capability to hold international events and meetings.  The trend for holding such meetings had started in 2007 when Ghana had hosted the AU summit in Accra in its capacity as the Chairman of the AU.  In the current year this process gained momentum and several events and meetings were held in Ghana.  The major among these events/meetings were, the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in Jan/Feb; the 12th Summit of the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII) in April; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in August; the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness  in September; and the sixth ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Summit in October.  
A significant field of crude oil was discovered offshore at Cape Three Points in the Western Region in Ghana in June 2007.  The discovery was made by Kosmos Energy of the USA in partnership with Anadrako, Tullow Ghana Limited.  The discovery was said to be high quality light crude oil.  A further discovery was made in August 2007 in the same area known as the Tano basin.  Estimates of oil contained in the entire structure range between 1bn and 1.5 bn barrels.  The commercial production of crude oil in Ghana is expected to begin in 2010.
The Government of Ghana has decided to opt for nuclear energy as an alternative source of power in a move to avert any future energy crisis in the country.  The decision was taken after consultations between the Cabinet and officials of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).  Government has appointed a special committee, headed by Professor Daniel A. Bekoe, Chairman of the Board of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), to explore the possibility of using nuclear power to produce electrical energy in Ghana.  
Ghana demonetized the old cedi currency notes after a redenomination exercise.  The new currency designated as Ghana Cedi [old Cedi 10,000 = new Ghana Cedi 1=Ghana Pesewa (Gp) 100] has currency notes of Ghana Cedi 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50.  The old notes and coins ceased to be legal tender after 31 December 2007.  
The overall internal political situation in Ghana has remained peaceful.  However, there have been incidents of tribal clashes mainly due to chieftancy disputes.    
 
Salient Features of the Economy
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. 
The West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), a US$ 500 million project aimed at moving Nigerian gas to Ghana via a 680 km sub-sea pipeline, was completed in December 2007.  However, it is not yet operational.
Ghana became the first among the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) to tap the international capital market through a bond issue.  The 10-year Ghana Eurobond issue of US $ 750 million was over subscribed by about 4 times on 27 September 2007.  The total subscription came close to US $ 3 billion. 
Ghana is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Ghana, along with Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Gambia, has established West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ). Under WAMZ, the monetary union is expected to commence by 1 December 2009. Ultimately, it hopes to be part of the ECOWAS free-trade zone that encompasses the 250 million people strong market covering the entire West African sub-region.
As a result of continued political stability, the strong macro economic performance and a number of measures taken by the government to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), foreign investment in Ghana has increased considerably in recent years. According to statistics published by the by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Government of Ghana agency for coordinating and monitoring all investment activities, from September 1994 to the end of March 2007, a total of 2409 foreign projects (including 157 Liaison Offices) were registered in Ghana.  In the year 2006, 238 projects with foreign participation were registered in Ghana, the highest since 1994.  The total projected capital outlay for these projects is US$ 3,036.9 million. 
External Trade:  Total exports in 2008 are estimated to be US $ 5.4 billion and total imports were US $ 9.91 billion in 2008 resulting in a resource balance or deficit of US $ 4.51 billion.  Ghana’s major trading partners are the Netherlands, UK, USA, Belgium, Nigeria, China, France and Nigeria.
 
External Relations
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.
Membership of International Organizations
Ghana is a member of the UN and its specialized agencies, NAM, the Commonwealth, IMF, World Bank, ECOWAS, African Union, NEPAD, ADB, etc.
 
Ghana Fact Sheet
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.
6 Climate Tropical
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%).
15 Literacy rate 65%.
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.
23

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
24

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.
 
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