About Ghana [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Ghana; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo

Climate

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

Terrain

Mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area

Elevation

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Afadjato 885 m

Geo Notes

Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Republic of Ghana
conventional short form: Ghana
former: Gold Coast

Capital City

name: Accra
geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W
time difference: UTC 0

Administrative Divisions

10 regions; Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western

Natuaral Hazards

Dry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts

Environmental Issues

Recurrent 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

Infectious Diseases

degree 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

Life Expectancy

total population: 60.55 years
male: 59.36 years
female: 61.78 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

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: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

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)

Religions Practiced

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)

Legal System

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

National Holiday

Independence Day, 6 March (1957)

Illicit Drugs

Illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; major transit hub for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin and, to a lesser extent, South American cocaine destined for Europe and the US; widespread crime and money laundering problem, but the lack of a well developed financial infrastructure limits the country's utility as a money laundering center; significant domestic cocaine and cannabis use

Telephone System

general assessment: primarily microwave radio relay; wireless local loop has been installed; outdated and unreliable fixed-line infrastructure heavily concentrated in Accra
domestic: competition among multiple mobile-cellular providers has spurred growth with a subscribership of more than 60 per 100 persons and rising
international: country code - 233; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC, Main One, and GLO-1 fiber-optic submarine cables that provide connectivity to South Africa, Europe, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); microwave radio relay link to Panaftel system connects Ghana to its neighbors (2009)

Broadcast Media

State-owned TV station, 2 state-owned radio networks; several privately-owned TV stations and a large number of privately-owned radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are accessible; several cable and satellite TV subscription services are obtainable (2007)

Background

Formed 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.

Economy Overview

Well 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. Oil production is expected to expand in late 2010 or early 2011. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for more than a third of GDP and employs more than half 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 and 2009.

National Anthem

name: "God Bless Our Homeland Ghana"
lyrics/music: unknown/Philip GBEHO
note: music adopted 1957, lyrics adopted 1966; the lyrics were changed twice, once when a republic was declared in 1960 and again after a 1966 coup

Ghana location map
Size

total: 238,533 sq km
land: 227,533 sq km
water: 11,000 sq km

Ghana flag
Population

24,339,838 (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

noun: 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)

HIV/AIDS Rate

1.9% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

6 March 1957 (from the UK)

Government Type

Constitutional democracy

Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

997,000 (2008)

Internet Hosts

41,082 (2010)

Internet Country Code

.gh

Refugees & IDPs

refugees (country of origin): 35,653 (Liberia); 8,517 (Togo) (2007)

Number Airports

11 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2010)

Railways

total: 947 km
narrow gauge: 947 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)

Roadways

total: 62,221 km
paved: 9,955 km
unpaved: 52,266 km (2006)

Inland Waterways

1,293 km
note: 168 km for launches and lighters on Volta, Ankobra, and Tano rivers; 1,125 km of arterial and feeder waterways on Lake Volta (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Takoradi, Tema

National Budget

revenues: $4.293 billion
expenditures: $5.803 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

-$1.199 billion (2009 est.)
-$3.543 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

cedis (GHC) per US dollar - 1.4 (2009), 1.1 (2008), 0.95 (2007), 9,174.8 (2006), 9,072.5 (2005)
note: in 2007 Ghana revalued its currency with 10,000 old cedis equal to 1 new cedis

Inflation Rate

19.3% (2009 est.)
16.5% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building

Agricultural Products

Cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber

Labor Force

10.33 million (2009 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 56%
industry: 15%
services: 29% (2005 est.)

Unemployment Rate

11% (2000 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$35.99 billion (2009 est.)
$34.57 billion (2008 est.)
$32.23 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$1,500 (2009 est.)
$1,500 (2008 est.)
$1,400 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 32.8% (2006)

Family Income Gini

39.4 (2005-06)
40.7 (1999)

Below Poverty

28.5% (2007 est.)