About  |   Contact  |  Mongabay on Facebook  |  Mongabay on Twitter  |  Subscribe
Rainforests | Tropical fish | Environmental news | For kids | Madagascar | Photos


Mongabay.com seeks to raise interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife, while examining the impact of emerging trends in climate, technology, economics, and finance on conservation and development (more)


Ghana Index

In precolonial Ghanaian societies, it was normal for an individual to receive economic assistance from members of his extended family--including paternal and maternal uncles, aunts, grandparents, and cousins. The practice of expecting assistance from family members grew out of the understanding that the basis of family wealth derived from land and labor, both inherited from common ancestors. Even as an individual sought help from extended family members, he was in turn required to fulfill certain responsibilities, such as contributing labor when needed or participating in activities associated with rites of passage of family members. It is because of this mutual interdependence of the members of the family that anthropologist Robert S. Rattray defined the extended family in Ghana as the primary political unit. Today, the same system of welfare assistance prevails in rural areas where more than two-thirds of the country's population resides.

Legislation for the provision of a modern national social security system went into effect in 1965. Further legislation was passed in 1970 to convert the system into a pension plan to provide for sickness, maternity, and work-related injury benefits. Government welfare programs at the time were the responsibility of the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (now the Ministry of Mobilization and Social Welfare). As the national economy was reformed, the Workers' Compensation Act of 1986 was passed to guarantee wages to workers in the private sector while they were undergoing treatment for work-related injuries.

These plans, however, applied only to individuals employed in the formal sector of the economy. With about two-thirds of the country's population residing in rural areas, and with most urban residents engaged outside the formal economy, the traditional pattern of social security based on kin obligations still functions. In rural areas, individuals continue to turn to members of the extended family for financial aid and guidance, and the family is expected to provide for the welfare of every member. In villages, towns, and cities, this mutual assistance system operates within the larger kinship units of lineage and clan. In large urban areas, religious, social, and professionally based mutual assistance groups have become popular as a way to address professional and urban problems beyond the scope of the traditional kinship social security system (see Urban Society , this ch.).

According to a 1988 newspaper report, housing has become a major problem for city dwellers. The report indicated that former governments have largely ignored the problem, thereby allowing the situation to reach an alarming state. The result is an acute shortage of affordable rental housing for urban workers and students who have to pay exorbitant rents. This shortage in turn has resulted in working husbands' leaving their families in their home villages and returning only when their work schedules allow them time to visit.

The introduction of the "Rural Manifesto" of 1984 was an attempt by the PNDC administration to address a general development problem that included urban housing. According to the 1984 plan, many services such as the provision of pipe-borne water, banking facilities, and electricity, were to be introduced to the rural areas, thereby making such locations attractive to workers and others who might otherwise migrate to towns and cities. Because the implementation of these services, especially rural electrification, began in earnest only in the late 1980s, the plan's impact on rural-urban flow was as yet uncertain in the early 1990s.

Data as of November 1994

BackgroundFormed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, RAWLINGS won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John KUFUOR succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. John Atta MILLS took over as head of state in early 2009.
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo
Area(sq km)total: 238,533 sq km
land: 227,533 sq km
water: 11,000 sq km
Geographic coordinates8 00 N, 2 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 2,094 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 549 km, Cote d'Ivoire 668 km, Togo 877 km

Coastline(km)539 km

Climatetropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Afadjato 880 m
Natural resourcesgold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone
Land use(%)arable land: 17.54%
permanent crops: 9.22%
other: 73.24% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)310 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)53.2 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 0.98 cu km/yr (24%/10%/66%)
per capita: 44 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsdry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts
Environment - current issuesrecurrent 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
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - noteLake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 37.3% (male 4,503,331/female 4,393,104)
15-64 years: 59.1% (male 7,039,696/female 7,042,208)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 393,364/female 460,792) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 20.7 years
male: 20.5 years
female: 21 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.882% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)28.58 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)9.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 50% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 51.09 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 55.32 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 46.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 59.85 years
male: 58.98 years
female: 60.75 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)3.68 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Ghanaian(s)
adjective: Ghanaian
Ethnic groups(%)Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census)

Religions(%)Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1% (2000 census)
Languages(%)Asante 14.8%, Ewe 12.7%, Fante 9.9%, Boron (Brong) 4.6%, Dagomba 4.3%, Dangme 4.3%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.7%, Akyem 3.4%, Ga 3.4%, Akuapem 2.9%, other 36.1% (includes English (official)) (2000 census)

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Ghana
conventional short form: Ghana
former: Gold Coast
Government typeconstitutional democracy
Capitalname: Accra
geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions10 regions; Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western
Constitutionapproved 28 April 1992

Legal systembased on English common law and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President John Evans Atta MILLS (since 7 January 2009); Vice President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 7 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President John Evans Atta MILLS (since 7 January 2009); Vice President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 7 January 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; president nominates members subject to approval by Parliament
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 7 December 2008 with a second round held 28 December 2008 (next to be held 7 December 2012)
election results: John Evans Atta MILLS elected president in run-off election; percent of vote - John Evans Atta MILLS 50.23%, Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO 49.77%

Legislative branchunicameral Parliament (230 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 2008 (next to be held 7 December 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDC 114, NPP 107, PNC 2, CPP 1, independent 4, other 2

Judicial branchSupreme Court

Political pressure groups and leadersChristian Aid (water rights); Committee for Joint Action or CJA (education reform); National Coalition Against the Privatization of Water or CAP (water rights); Oxfam (water rights); Public Citizen (water rights); Students Coalition Against EPA [Kwabena Ososukene OKAI] (education reform); Third World Network (education reform)
Flag descriptionthree 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; similar to the flag of Bolivia, which has a coat of arms centered in the yellow band

Economy - overviewWell endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold and cocoa production, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for about 35% of GDP and employs about 55% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Ghana signed a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in 2006, which aims to assist in transforming Ghana's agricultural sector. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program in 2002, and is also benefiting from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative that took effect in 2006. Thematic priorities under its current Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which also provides the framework for development partner assistance, are: macroeconomic stability; private sector competitiveness; human resource development; and good governance and civic responsibility. Sound macro-economic management along with high prices for gold and cocoa helped sustain GDP growth in 2008.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$34.52 billion (2008 est.)
$32.17 billion (2007 est.)
$30.27 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$16.65 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)7.3% (2008 est.)
6.3% (2007 est.)
6.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,500 (2008 est.)
$1,400 (2007 est.)
$1,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 37.3%
industry: 25.3%
services: 37.5% (2006 est.)
Labor force10.12 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 56%
industry: 15%
services: 29% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)11% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)28.5% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 32.8% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index39.4 (2005-06)
40.7 (1999)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)32.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $5.256 billion
expenditures: $7.492 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)16.5% (2008 est.)
10.7% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$NA (31 December 2008)
$2.179 billion (31 December 2006)
Stock of quasi money$NA (31 December 2008)
$2.174 billion (31 December 2006)
Stock of domestic credit$4.179 billion (31 December 2006)
Market value of publicly traded shares$3.394 billion (31 December 2008)
$2.38 billion (31 December 2007)
$3.233 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$1.316 billion in loans and grants (2007)

Public debt(% of GDP)53.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
58.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - productscocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber
Industriesmining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building

Industrial production growth rate(%)8.1% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$3.471 billion (2008 est.)
-$1.717 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$5.275 billion (2008 est.)
$4.172 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticulture
Exports - partners(%)Netherlands 13.5%, Ukraine 11.8%, UK 8%, France 5.7%, US 5.2% (2008)
Imports$10.26 billion (2008 est.)
$8.066 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs
Imports - partners(%)China 15.6%, Nigeria 14.7%, India 7.4%, US 5.5%, France 4.4%, UK 4.4% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.028 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$2.831 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$5.055 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$4.891 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratescedis (GHC) per US dollar - 1.1 (2008 est.), 0.95 (2007), 9,174.8 (2006), 9,072.5 (2005), 9,004.6 (2004)
note: in 2007 Ghana revalued its currency with 10,000 old cedis equal to 1 new cedis

Currency (code)Ghana cedi (GHC)

Telephones - main lines in use143,900 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular11.57 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: outdated and unreliable fixed-line infrastructure heavily concentrated in Accra; competition among multiple mobile-cellular providers has spurred growth with a subscribership of 50 per 100 persons and rising
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay; wireless local loop has been installed
international: country code - 233; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); microwave radio relay link to Panaftel system connects Ghana to its neighbors (2008)
Internet country code.gh
Internet users997,000 (2008)
Airports11 (2009)
Pipelines(km)oil 5 km; refined products 309 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 62,221 km
paved: 9,955 km
unpaved: 52,266 km (2006)

Ports and terminalsTema
Military branchesGhanaian Army, Ghanaian Navy, Ghanaian Air Force (2008)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 5,802,096
females age 16-49: 5,729,939 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 3,849,113
females age 16-49: 3,840,083 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 272,954
female: 266,186 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Disputes - internationalGhana struggles to accommodate returning nationals who worked in the cocoa plantations and escaped fighting in Cote d'Ivoire

Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 35,653 (Liberia); 8,517 (Togo) (2007)
Electricity - production(kWh)6.746 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 5%
hydro: 95%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)5.702 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)249 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)435 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)7,399 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)56,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)4,843 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)45,380 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)15 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)22.65 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)1.9% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS260,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths21,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.9%
male: 66.4%
female: 49.8% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2007)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.4% of GDP (2005)

Copyright mongabay 2000-2013