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Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” and is derived from the ancient Ghana Empire.
Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms, including the inland Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Akyem, the Bonoman, the Denkyira, and the Fante among others. Non-Akan states created by the Ga also existed as did states by the Dagomba. Prior to contact with Europeans trade between the Akan and various African states flourished due to Akan gold wealth. Trade with European states began after contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the British established the Gold Coast Crown colony in 1874 over parts but not all of the country
Ghana Country Information
and largest city Accra
Official languages English
(medium / 135th)
Currency Ghana cedi (GH₵) (GHS)
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
Drives on the right
Calling code +233
ISO 3166 code GH
Internet TLD .gh
More About Ghana
Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign state and unitary presidential constitutional republic located on the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in West Africa. Ghana consists of ten territorial administrative regions with several islands and it is bordered by the Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean to the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King”.
Ghana has the same land mass as the United Kingdom with the northern half of Ghana containing savannas and wildlife and the southern half of Ghana containing great industrial mineral and fossil fuel wealth, principally gold, petroleum and natural gas. The southern half of Ghana dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is rich in forests, woodlands and fertile lands, and features a string of springs, waterfalls, streams, rivers, caves, lakes, esturaries, mountains, wildlife parks and nature reserves. The coast of Ghana is a labyrinth of castles, forts, ports, harbours, Cape Three Points peninsula, and beaches that line Ghana’s 560 kilometres (348 miles) Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean coastline of mainly sandy beaches.
Ghana was inhabited in the Middle Ages and the age of discovery by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms, including the inland Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Bonoman, the Denkyira, and the Mankessim Kingdom among others. Non-Akan states created by the Dagomba also existed. Prior to the Black contact with Europeans, trade between the Akan and various African states flourished due to Akan gold wealth. Trade with European states began after contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century. In 1874 England established control over some parts of the country assigning these areas the status of Gold Coast. The Gold Coast declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1957 and established the nation of Ghana. This made it the first African country to gain independence from colonial rule. 99% of Ghana’s population are African people.
Ghana, known as “the Switzerland of Africa”, has had democracy, political stability from 2001 and has enjoyed rapid economic growth and rising human development from 2001 to 2009. Ghana is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, and the Group of 24. Ghana is the second largest cocoa producer in the world, one of the world’s largest gold producers, petroleum and natural gas producer, and Ghana is home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.
Name and etymology
The word Ghana means “Warrior King” and was the title accorded to the kings of the medieval West African Ghana Empire, although this empire was further north than the modern-day country of Ghana.
The name “Ghana” was the source of the name “Guinea” (via French Guinoye) used to refer to the west Africa coast off the Republic of Ghana (as in Gulf of Guinea).
Ghana was adopted as the legal name for the Gold Coast combined with British Togoland upon declaration of independence and autonomy on 6 March 1957
The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval West African Ghana Empire, The Empire became known in Europe and Arabia as the Ghana Empire by the title of its emperor, the Ghana. The Empire appears to have broken up following the 1076 conquest by the Almoravid General Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar. A reduced kingdom continued to exist after Almoravid rule ended, and the Kingdom was later incorporated into subsequent Sahelian empires, such as the Mali Empire several centuries later. Geographically, the ancient Ghana Empire was approximately 500 miles (800 km) north and west of the modern state of Ghana, and controlled territories in the area of the Sénégal river and east towards the Niger rivers, in modern Senegal, Mauritania and Mali.
Historically, modern Ghanaian territory was the core of the Empire of Ashanti, which was one of the most advanced states in sub-Sahara Africa in the 18–19th centuries, before colonial rule. It is said that at its peak, the King of Ashanti could field 500,000 troops.
For most of central sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural expansion marked the period before 500. Farming began earliest on the southern tips of the Sahara, eventually giving rise to village settlements. Toward the end of the classical era, larger regional kingdoms had formed in West Africa, one of which was the Kingdom of Ghana, north of what is today the nation of Ghana. Before its fall, at the beginning of the 10th century Akan migrants moved southward then founded several nation-states including the first great Akan empire of the Bono founded in the 11th Century and for which the Brong-Ahafo Region of Akanland is named after. Later Akan groups such as the Ashanti federation and Fante states are thought to possibly have roots in the original Bono settlement at Bono manso. Much of the area was united under the Empire of Ashanti by the 16th century. The Ashanti government operated first as a loose network and eventually as a centralized kingdom with an advanced, highly specialized bureaucracy centered in Kumasi.
Geography and climate
Ghana is located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, therefore giving it a warm climate. Ghana spans an area of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), and has an Atlantic coastline that strecthes 560 kilometres (348 mi) on the Gulf of Guinea in Atlantic Ocean to its south. Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N, and longitudes 4°W and 2°E; and the Prime Meridian passes through Ghana, specifically through the industrial port town of Tema. Ghana is geographically closer to the “centre” of the world than any other country in the world; even though the notional centre, (0°, 0°) is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 614 km (382 mi) off the south-east coast of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea. Grasslands mixed with south coastal shrublands and forests dominate south Ghana, with forest extending northward from the south-west coast of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean 320 kilometers (200 mi) and eastward for a maximum of about 270 kilometers (170 mi) with south Ghana being a primary location for mining of industrial minerals and timber.
Ghana encompasses plains, low hills, rivers, Lake Volta, the world’s largest artificial lake, Dodi Island and Bobowasi Island on the south Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana. Ghana can be divided into four different geographical ecoregions; the coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed by plains and scrub and intersected by several rivers and streams while the northern part of Ghana features high plains. South-west and south-central Ghana is made up of a forested plateau region consisting of the Ashanti uplands and the Kwahu Plateau; the hilly Akwapim-Togo ranges are found along Ghana’s eastern international border.
The Volta Basin takes up most of south-central Ghana and Ghana’s highest point is Mount Afadjato which is 885 m (2,904 ft) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo ranges. The climate is tropical and the eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the south-west corner of Ghana is hot and humid, and the north of Ghana is hot and dry. Lake Volta, the world’s largest artificial lake, extends through large portions of south-eastern Ghana and many tributary rivers such as the Oti and Afram rivers flow into it. The northernmost part of Ghana is Pulmakong and the southernmost part of Ghana is Cape three points near Axim. Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N. The climate is tropical and the eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the south-west corner of Ghana is hot and humid, and the north of Ghana is hot and dry. Lake Volta, the world’s largest artificial lake, extends through large portions of south-eastern Ghana and many tributary rivers such as the Oti and Afram rivers flow into it. The northernmost part of Ghana is Pulmakong and the southernmost part of Ghana is Cape three points near Axim. Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N.
South Ghana contains evergreen and semi-deciduous forests consisting of trees such as mahogany, odum, ebony and it also contains much of Ghana’s oil palms and mangroves with shea trees, baobabs and acacias found in the northern part of Ghana
The climate of Ghana is tropical and there are two main seasons in Ghana: the wet and the dry seasons. North Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to November while South Ghana experiences its rainy season from April to mid-November. The tropical climate of Ghana is relatively mild for its latitude. The harmattan, a dry desert wind, blows in north-east Ghana from December to March, lowering the humidity and causing hot days and cool nights in northern part of Ghana. Average temperatures range from 21°C to 28°C (70 to 82°F) with a relative humidity between 77 percent and 85 percent. In the northern part of Ghana, there are two rainy seasons: April through June and September through November. Squalls occur in the northern part of Ghana during March and April, followed by occasional rain until August and September, when the rainfall reaches its peak. Rainfall ranges from 78 to 216 centimeters (31 to 85 inches) a year.
Ghana ranked as the 64th least corrupt and politically corrupt country in the world out of all 174 countries ranked and Ghana ranked as the 5th least corrupt and politically corrupt country in Africa out of 53 countries in the 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, although political corruption in Ghana has been on the rise. Ghana was ranked 7th in Africa out of 53 countries in the 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African government, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens.
There are ten administrative regions of the Republic of Ghana which are divided into 6 metropolitan assemblies; 55 Municipal assemblies; and 216 districts, each with its own district assembly. Below districts are various types of councils, including 58 town or area councils; 108 zonal councils; and 626 area councils. Sixteen thousand unit committees exist on the lowest level. Ghana has 275 electoral constituencies.
Since independence, Ghana has been devoted to ideals of nonalignment and is a founding member of the non-aligned movement. Ghana favours international and regional political and economic co-operation, and is an active member of the United Nations and the African Union.
Many Ghanaian diplomats and politicians hold positions in international organisations. These include Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, International Criminal Court Judge Akua Kuenyehia, former President Jerry John Rawlings and former President John Agyekum Kuffour who have both served as diplomats of the United Nations.
In September 2010, Ghana’s former President John Atta Mills visited China on an official visit. Mills and China’s former President Hu Jintao, marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations, at the Great Hall of the People on 20 September 2010. China reciprocated with a visit in November 2011, by the Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, Zhou Tienong who visited Ghana and met with Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama.
Ghana is a Middle Income Economy and is ranked as a Lower–Middle Income Economy by the World Bank and is an Emerging Economy.
The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) is the third largest stock exchange in Africa after the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The Ghana economy is resource rich and diverse with the exports of industrial minerals, cocoa, petroleum and natural gas, and industries such as electricity generation, information and communications technology, retailling and tourism being sources of foreign exchange. The Akosombo Dam, which was built on the Volta River in 1965, Bui Dam, Kpong Dam with several other hydroelectric dams and renewable energy sources provides hydro-electricity and sustainable energy for Ghana.
The Ghana economy is the 9th largest economy on the African continent with more than twice the per capita output of all the countries in West Africa excluding Nigeria, and Ghana has the 85th largest economy in the world by Nominal GDP. Known for its gold, South Ghana was the world’s 7th largest producer of gold in 2012; producing 102 metric tons of gold and the 10th largest producer of gold in the world in 2012; producing 89 metric tons of gold. South Ghana is also the 2nd largest producer of cocoa in the world, and other exports such as crude oil, natural gas, timber, electricity, diamond, bauxite, and manganese are major sources of foreign exchange, but despite possessing a great abundance of industrial minerals and natural resources, Ghana is yet to reach newly industrialised country status after 56 years of independence.
In July 2013, International Enterprise Singapore (IE) Singapore opened its 38th global office in Accra, Ghana to develop trade and investment on logistics, oil and gas, aviation, transportation and consumer sectors. Singapore and Ghana also signed four bilateral agreements to promote public sector and private sector collaboration, as Ghana aims to predominantly shift its economic trade partnership to East Asia and Southeast Asia and Ghana aims to emulate and replicate the rapid economic growth of Singapore. The economic centre is IE Singapore’s second office in Africa, coming six months after opening in Johannesburg, South Africa in January 2013.
Tourism is a rapidly growing sector with tourist arrivals at 950,000 and earnings of US$ 1.8 billion from tourism in 2010. Ghana’s tourist arrivals rose to 1,087,000 million in 2011 and earnings of US$ 2 billion from tourism in 2011, contributing to 6% of the Ghana GDP in 2011. UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Castles and Forts including Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle, natural landscapes and national parks such as Kakum National Park and Mole National Park, as well as public squares such as Independence square and cultural celebrations such as Panafest are major centres of tourist activity.
The value added tax is a consumption tax administered in Ghana. The tax regime which started in 1998 had a single rate but since September 2007 entered into a multiple rate regime. In 1998, the rate of tax was 10% and amended in 2000 to 12.5%. However with the passage of Act 734 of 2007, a 3% VAT Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS) began to operate for the retail distribution sector. This allows retailers of taxable goods under Act 546 to charge a marginal 3% on their sales and account on same to the VAT Service. It is aimed at simplifying the tax system and increasing compliance.
Ineffective economic policies of past military and incumbent government have led to continued inflationary deficit financing, depreciation of the cedi, and rising public discontent with Ghana’s austerity measures. In July 2007, the Bank of Ghana embarked on a currency re-denomination exercise, from the cedi (₵) to a new currency, the Ghana Cedi (GH₵). The transfer rate was 1 Ghana Cedi for every 10,000 cedis. The new Ghana Cedi in 2009 was relatively stable and generally exchanged at a rate of US$1 = GH₵1.4
Ghana’s labour force in 2008 totalled 11.5 million people. The domestic economy revolves around services, which in 2012 accounted for 50% of GDP and employed 28% of the work force in 2011 and Manufacturing accounted for 27.3% of GDP and provided employment for 20% of the work force in 2011. Agriculture accounted for 22.7% of GDP and provided employment for 52% of the work force in 2011. The Government of Ghana unemployment figure is at 3% in 2012.
The Ghana economy is projected to reach US$114.564 billion purchasing power parity and US$4,155 GDP per capita in 2016.
The real estate and housing market of Ghana has become an important and strategic economic sector, particularly in the urban centers of South Ghana such as Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tema. Kumasi is growing at a faster rate than Accra, and there is less competition in its real estate market. The gross rental income tax of Ghana is withheld at 10%, capital gains are taxed at 15% with a 5% gift tax imposed on the transfer of properties and Ghana’s real estate market is divided into 3 areas: public sector real estate development, emerging private sector real estate development, and private individuals. The activities of these 3 groups are facilitated by the Ghanaian banks and the primary mortgage market which has demonstrated enormous growth potential. Recent developments in the Ghanaian economy has given birth to a boom in the construction sector, including the housing and public housing sector generating and injecting millions of dollars annually into the Ghanaian economy. The real estate market investment perspective and attraction comes from Ghana’s tropical location and robust political stability. An increasing number of the Ghanaian populace are investing in properties and the Ghana government is empowering the private sector in the real estate direction.
Industrial minerals and mining
Other than industrial minerals and exports from South Ghana such as timber, diamonds, bauxite, and manganese, South Ghana also has a great deposit of barites; basalts; clays; dolomites; feldspars; granites; gravels; gypsums; iron ores; kaolins; laterites; limestones; magnesites; marbles; micas; phosphates; phosphorus; rocks; salts; sands; sandstones; slates; and talcs that are yet to be fully exploited.
Oil and gas reserves
Commercial quantities of offshore oil reserves in South Ghana were discovered in the 1970s. In 1983 the government established the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to promote exploration and production, and the company reached agreements with a number of foreign firms. These permitted Amoco to prospect in ten offshore blocks between Ada along the eastern international border of Ghana. Petro-Canada International had prospected in the Tano River Basin, and Diamond Shamrock in the Keta Basin. In 1989, US$30 million was spent drilling wells in the Tano basin, and on 21 June 1992, an offshore Tano basin well produced about 6,900 barrels (1,100 m3) of crude oil daily. In the early 1990s, GNPC reviewed all earlier crude oil and natural gas discoveries to determine whether a predominantly local operation might make exploitation more commercially viable. GNPC wanted to set up a floating system for production, storage, off-loading, processing, and gas-turbine electricity generation, hoping to produce 22 billion cubic feet (620,000,000 m3) per day, from which 135 megawatts of power could be generated and fed into the national and regional grid. GNPC also signed a contract in 1992 with Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol Group, that provides for drilling and, ultimately, production at two of Sonangol’s offshore oilfields. GNPC was paid with a share of the crude oil.
The Tema Oil Refinery in South Ghana underwent the first phase of a major rehabilitation in 1989. The second phase began in April 1990 at an estimated cost of US$36 million. Once rehabilitation was completed, distribution of liquified petroleum gas was to be improved, and the quantity supplied was to rise from 28,000 to 34,000 barrels per day. Construction on the new Tema-Akosombo oil products pipeline, designed to improve the distribution system further, began in January 1992. The pipeline was to carry refined products from Tema to Akosombo Port, where they will be transported across Lake Volta to northern regions. Distribution continued to be uneven, however. Other measures to improve the situation included a US$28 million project to set up a national network of storage depots in all regions. The Tema Lube Oil Company commissioned its new oil blending plant, designed to produce 25,000 tons of oil per year, in 1992. The plant was to satisfy both North Ghana and South Ghana’s requirements for motor and gear lubricants and 60% of the country’s need for industrial lubricants, or, in all, 90% of Ghana’s demand for lubricant products. Shareholders included Mobil, Shell, and BP (together accounting for 48% of equity), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
South Ghana’s Jubilee Oilfield which is reported to contain up to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of sweet crude oil was discovered in 2007, among the many other oilfields in South Ghana. Oil and gas exploration in South Ghana is ongoing, and the amount of both crude oil and natural gas continues to increase. The expected annual US$4 billion tremendous inflow of capital from crude oil and natural gas production into the Ghana economy began from the first quarter of 2011 when the country started producing crude oil and natural gas in commercial quantities with Ghana annually receiving US$500 million. The crude oil accounted for 6% of the revenue for 2011. In the first and second financial quarters of 2013, South Ghana produced 115,000-200,000 barrels of crude oil per day and 140 million-200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The National Iranian Oil Company, Iranian Offshore Oil Company, Singapore Petroleum Company, Vetro Energy and PetroSeraya of Singapore have declared interests in investing and developing South Ghana’s oil and gas infrastructure and industry as South Ghana aims to further increase output of oil to 2 million barrels per day and gas to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day.
South Ghana is believed to have up to 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3) of oil in reserves, which is the sixth largest in Africa and the 25th largest proven reserves in the world and South Ghana has up to 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in reserves.
Media and Telecommunications
New Media in Ghana has implemented relative liberal policies towards the Internet, new communications technologies, and New Media use is rising in Ghana. New Media content creation, publishing, digital distribution and consumption via internet-enabled digital devices (digital electronics) have increased. In 2002, Ghana’s ICT Development Committee created a forward-thinking Information and communications technology (ICT) strategy (Information and communication technologies for development) called the Information and Communications Technology For Accelerated Development project (ICT4AD). The strategy consisted of a three-phase approach: first, the committee members came up with a framework for what they would like to achieve; next, they developed a set of policies that would help them reach that goal and finally, they delineated exactly how those policies could be implemented. After the completion of all three phases, they took their findings to the Cabinet and Parliament of Ghana in 2003. The recommendations were subsequently approved, which cleared the way for the government to implement several e-learning, e-government and national-based IT initiatives in 2012; the Ghana Open Data Initiative and National Information Technology Agency (NITA) in 2008, as well as a national ICT infrastructure roll-out. This good planning has had a positive effect on the development of ICT-based business and general high ICT usage in Ghana: 2002 – 2005 saw a nearly nine-fold increase in the usage of mobile phones and personal computers, as well as the birth of an Information technology (IT) industry (including call-centers and some computer manufacturing) and industrial technology.
In November 2011, Ghanaian business incubators and entrepreneurs David Osei, Kamil Nabong and Philips Effah, founded Dropifi, an application software that helps businesses sort customer feedback on the internet. About 20 months later in July 2013, Dropifi application software company has become the first African company to join the 500 Startups program, a Silicon Valley-based seed accelerator and investment fund. Dropifi started at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in Accra (Meltwater Group). Dropifi application software helps business monitor customer feedback and it analyzes demographics, industry trends and the emotions behind the messages, to help companies respond effectively to customers. It also taps into social media platforms so companies can have a broader customer reach. Dropifi application software company in July 2013 had over 6,000 clients in more than 30 countries worldwide and is currently focused on technology international market.
The Ghana railway network occupies a total rail route length and rail track length of 947 km and 1300 km and they are national rail lines that do not go to outside of Ghana and the Ghana national border. Ghana railway network is limited to south Ghana and the southern part of Ghana within the Greater Accra region, Central region, Western region, Eastern region and Ashanti region of south Ghana. There are plans underway that revamp the operations of the Ghana Railway Corporation and Ghana Railway Company to make it more viable, and to attract private sector participation. Concession agreements have been signed by the Ghana Railway Corporation for the development and extension of the Ghana Eastern Rail Line and the rehabilitation of the Ghana Western Rail Line. The major rail routes in Ghana are the Ghana Eastern Rail Line that connects Kumasi to Koforidua, and the Ghana Western Rail Line that connects Kumasi to Sekondi-Takoradi, Sunyani and Cape Coast. In 2010, Ghana Railway Corporation began a US$6 billion rail project at the construction of the Ghana rail infrastructure to Ghana High-Speed Rail (abbreviated GHSR or HSR) and to upgrade all of Ghana’s railway line network has been planned and to be completed at the end of 2014 with construction managed by the China Railway High-Speed (CHR) and the Chinese National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC).
The Ghana road network is 64,323 km and road transportation is the most dominant choice of transportation in Ghana. Road transport infrastructure in Ghana can be used throughout to facilitate the exchange of commodities and enable regular school attendance and fast access to health facilities in Ghana. There has been an increased investment and expansion in the road transportation of Ghana, US$500 million in 2012. There is a Ghanaian Bus Rapid Transit, known as Metro mass Transit L.T.D, and a Taxicab system connecting the Ghanaian big cities among themselves, and a Minibuses system, known as Tro Tros, connecting big cities with the country’s rural areas and small towns. The Ghana Police Service’s Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) and the Ghana Highways Authority is responsible for the maintenance of the Road Traffic Control of Ghana and the Ghana Road Network (Ghana national highways and motorways).
Ghana’s Volta River, Ankobra River, and Tano River provide 168 km of perennial navigation for launches and lighters, and Volta Lake provides 1,125 kilometres of arterial and feeder waterway. There are two main seaports in Ghana which are located in the southern coastal cities of Sekondi-Takoradi and Tema (Takoradi Harbour and Tema Harbour). The strategic geographical location of Ghana to the Volta Lake and the many rivers of Ghana that provide inland transport make Ghana a very transited sovereign state for freighters. Inland water transport in Ghana includes the movement of passengers by ferry or water taxis and cargo on rivers, lakes and other water bodies in Ghana and Ghana has a ferry transportation system on Volta Lake at Yeji and Kwadjokrom. The Volta Lake is the major inland water transport facility that is efficiently regulated to transport passengers and cargo. The main transport service provider on the Volta Lake is the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited (VLTC). The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and Ghana Railway Corporation and the Volta River Authority collectively have oversight responsibility over the Volta Lake and the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited (VLTC).
The first Ghanaian flag carrier was the Ghana Airways which commenced operations in 1958 then ceased operations in 2005 and was succeeded by the Ghana International Airlines in 2005. Ghana has an vibrant airline industry and there are four main airports in Ghana: Kotoka Intermational Airport in Greater Accra, Kumasi International Airport in Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi Airport in Western Ghana, and Sunyani Airport in Sunyani. In addition, Ghana has a total of 8 airports, of which the most transited is the Kotoka International Airport located in Accra, with a transit in 2009 of 1.2 million passengers. After the cessation of operations of Ghana International Airlines in 2010, major airlines of Ghana are Africa World Airlines, Antrak Air, CTK – CiTylinK and Starbow Airlines which fly to domestic destinations in Ghana and to main flight points of the African continent. In 2010, Ghana planned for the revival of Ghana Airways to commence commercial aviation.
Ghana has a reported population of about 24 million people, of whom 15 million (60%) are citizens (Ghanaians) while there are 1.5 million (6%) registered legal skilled workers (permanent residents) or foreign workers/students (i.e. Ghana card holders) with an annually 1.5 million transited tourists/airport layovers and Ghana’s first post-independence population census, in 1960, counted about 6.7 million inhabitants. The median age of Ghanaians is 30 years old and the average household size is 3.6 persons. 99% of the population of Ghana are African people. The native and largest ethnic group of South Ghana is Akan. 13.5 million of the population are ethnic Akans in South Ghana. The official language is English and is spoken by 90% of the population; however, 75% of the population also speak the Akan language.
The minority African peoples in Ghana are: Ewe (Population: 2,200,000) in Volta, Ga-Adangbe (Population: 1,022,144), and Dagaaba (Population: 657,973), Dagomba (Population: 618,101), Gonja (Population: 354,567), and Kassena (Population: 161,000), in North Ghana; and Ghanaian Chinese or Han Chinese (Population: 750,000), Ghanaian Indians or Indian (Population: 10,000), Afro-Asians or Coloured (Population: 58,000), White African/White Ghanaians (Population: 20,900), and Lebanese/Syrian/Arab/Afro-Arab or Ghanaian Arabs (Population: 69,500), comprise 3.68%–4% of the population of Ghana.
There is a Government of Ghana and Ghana Immigration Service estimated population of 6 million (24%) aliens and Illegal immigrants in Ghana and in 1969 under the “Ghana Aliens Compliance Order” (GACO) enacted by the Ghanaian Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia; Ghana deported over 3 million aliens and illegal immigrants in 3 months as they made up 20% of Ghana’s population at the time.
English is the country’s official language and predominates in government and business affairs. It is also the standard language used for educational instruction. Native Ghanaian languages are divided into African language families of the Niger–Congo languages. The Kwa family, which is spoken by about 75% of the country’s population, includes Akan, Ga and Adangbe (Ga–Adangbe) and Nzema, and they are spoken primarily in south Ghana and in the southern half of the country and along the Volta river. Once included in Kwa, Ewe is included in Gbe, and is spoken in Volta. The Gur family includes Dagbani (Dagomba), Dagaare (Dagaaba), Kasem (Kassena), Gonja and they are predominantly spoken in north Ghana. Nine languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: Akan, Dagomba (Dagbani), Dangme (Adangbe), Dagaare (Dagaaba), Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem (Kassena), and Nzema.
Since 2007, all university and high-school institutions in Ghana provide Chinese language (Mandarin language) courses. This initiative reflected China’s growing role as a superpower and Ghana’s close ties with China.
Christianity is the country’s largest religion, and predominates in areas of south Ghana and parts of north Ghana, while Islam is more widespread in parts of the northern regions. Christianity is practised by 71.2% of the population, according to the 2010 census. Christianity was introduced by Europeans on the coast of Ghana in the 14th century.
Islam is the faith of 17.6% of the population. It was introduced to northern Ghana in the 15th century. Christian–Muslim relations in Ghana are peaceful, tolerant and bilateral.
The 2010 census reported that 5.3% of Ghanaians declare no religious affiliation.
Traditional religion is practised by 5.2% of the population, according to the 2010 census. Hinduism is administered by Ghana’s Hindu Monastery, headed by Swami Ghananand Saraswati. Hinduism has an increasing following along with Taoism and Buddhism. There are small numbers of other faiths in Ghana, including Ninchiren Shoshu Sōka Gakkai, Shintoism, and Judaism–House of Israel (Ghana).
Ghana has a universal health care system, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and life expectancy at birth is 66 years with males at 64 years and females at 67 years, and infant mortality is at 39 per 1000 live births. The total fertility rate is about 3.57 children per woman. There are about 15 physicians and 93 nurses per 100,000 persons. 5.2% of the country’s GDP was spent on health in 2010, and all Ghanaian citizens have access to primary health care 60% of the Ghana population. Ghana’s universal health care system has been described as the most successful healthcare system on the Africa continent by the renowned business magnate and tycoon Bill Gates. Attempts to further improve the healthcare system in Ghana are believed to have been hampered by a high rate of corruption within the Ghana Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Ghana is an ethnically diverse country that is predominantly influenced by the ancient Kingdoms of the Akan. Ghanaian culture is a mixture of the cultures of the Ghanaian people. Ghana’s cultural diversity is most evident in Ghanaian cuisine and clothing.
The Ghanaian national literature and Voices of Ghana is one of the oldest in the entire Africa continent. The most prominent Ghanaian authors are novelists; J. E. Casely Hayford and Ayi Kwei Armah, who reached international success from the most famous works, The Beautiful Unborn and Osiris Rising. In addition to the novels, other literature arts such as Ghanaian theatre and Ghanaian poetry have also had a very good development at the Ghanaian national level with prominent Ghanaian novelists Joe de Graft and Efua Sutherland.
Kente is a very important Ghanaian national costume and clothing and these cloths are used to make traditional and modern Ghanaian Kente attire. Different symbols and different colours mean different things. Kente is the most famous of all the Ghanaian cloths. Kente is an ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a horizontal treadle loom and strips measuring about 4 inches wide are sewn together into larger pieces of cloths. Cloths come in various colours, sizes and designs and are worn during very important social and religious occasions. In a cultural context, kente is more important than just a cloth and it is a visual representation of history and also a form of written language through weaving. The term kente has its roots in the Akan word kɛntɛn which means a basket and the first kente weavers used raffia fibres to weave cloths that looked like kenten (a basket); and thus were referred to as kenten ntoma; meaning basket cloth. The original Akan name of the cloth was nsaduaso or nwontoma, meaning “a cloth hand-woven on a loom”; however, “kente” is the most frequently used term today.
Music and Dancing
The music of Ghana is diverse and varies between different ethnic groups and regions. Ghanaian music incorporates several distinct types of musical instruments such as the talking drum ensembles, Akan drum, goje fiddle and koloko lute, court music, including the Akan atumpan, the Ga kpanlogo styles, and log xylophones used in asonko music. The most well known genres to have come from Ghana are Afro-jazz which was created by Ghanaian artist Kofi Ghanaba. and its earliest form of secular music is called highlife. Highlife originated in the late 19th century and early 20th century and spread throughout West Africa. In the 1990s a new genre of music was created by the youth incorporating the influences of highlife, Afro-reggae, dancehall and hiphop. This hybrid was called Hiplife. Ghanaian artists such as R&B and soul singer Rhian Benson and highlife singer Kojo Antwi and Amakye Dede have had international success.
Ghanaian dance is as diverse as its music, and there are traditional dances and different dances for different occasions. The most known Ghanaian dances are those for celebrations. Some of these dances include Adowa, Kpanlogo, Azonto, Klama, and Bamaya.
Ghanaian cuisine is diverse, and includes an assortment of soups and stews with varied seafoods and most Ghanaian soups are prepared with vegetables, meat, poultry or fish. Fish is important in the Ghanaian diet with tilapia, roasted and fried whitebait, smoked fish and crayfish all being common components of Ghanaian dishes.
Banku is a common Ghanaian starchy food made from ground corn (maize), and cornmeal based staples, dokonu (kenkey) and banku are usually accompanied by some form of fried fish (chinam) or grilled tilapia and a very spicy condiment made from raw red and green chillies, onions and tomatoes (pepper sauce). Banku and tilapia is a combo served in most Ghanaian restaurants.
The media of Ghana is one of the most free in Africa. Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees freedom of the press and independence of the media, while Chapter 2 prohibits censorship. Post independence, the government and media often had a tense relationship, with private outlets closed during the military governments and strict media laws that prevent criticism of government. The media freedoms were restored in 1992, and after the election in 2000 of John Agyekum Kufuor the tensions between the private media and government decreased. Kufuor was a supporter of press freedom and repealed a libel law, though maintained that the media had to act responsibly. The Ghanaian media has been described as “one of the most unfettered” in Africa, operating with little restriction on private media. The private press often carries criticism of government policy. The media were vigorous in their coverage of the 2008 Ghanaian presidential election, and the Ghanaian Journalists Association (GJA) praised John Atta Mills on his election, hoping to foster a good media-government relationship.
Sport in Ghana began in 1952 when Ghana first competed in its first olympic games as Gold Coast and competed in the Winter Olympics in 2010 for the first time, Ghana qualified for the 2010 Winter Olympics, scoring 137.5 International Ski Federation points, within the qualifying range of 120-140 points. Ghanaian skier, Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, nicknamed “The Snow Leopard”, became the first Ghanaian to take part in the Winter Olympics, at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada, taking part in the slalom skiing.
Ghana finished 47th out of 102 participating nations, of whom 54 finished in the Alpine skiing slalom. Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong broke on the international skiing circuit, being the second black African skier to do so.
Ghanaian athletes have won a total of four Olympics medals in thirteen appearances at the Summer Olympics, three in boxing, and a bronze medal in association football, and thus became the first country on the Africa continent to win a medal at association football.
The country has also produced quite a few quality boxers, including Azumah Nelson a three-time world champion, Nana Yaw Konadu also a three-time world champion, Ike Quartey, and Joshua Clottey.
Nursery, kindergarten and education structure
One of the largest challenges facing Ghana is still the fact that the older population that were born prior to 1980 often lacks education, which has held back Ghana’s economic growth; the adult literacy rate in Ghana was 71.5% in 2010, with males at 78.3% and females at 65.3%.
The youth female and male ages 15–24 years literacy rate in Ghana was 81% in 2010, with males at 82%, and females at 80%.
Ghanaian children begin their education at the age of three or four starting from nursery school to kindergarten, then elementary school (primary school), high school (junior high school and senior high school) and finally university. The average age at which a Ghanaian child enters primary school is 6 years.
Ghana has a 6-year primary school education system beginning at age six, and, under the educational reforms implemented in 1987 and reformed in 2007, they pass on to a 3-year junior high school system. At the end of the third year of junior high, there is a mandatory “Basic Education Certificate Examination”. Those continuing must complete the 4 -year senior high school program (which has been changed to three years) and take an admission exam to enter any university or tertiary programme. The Ghanaian education system from nursery school up to an undergraduate degree level takes 20 years.
In 2005, Ghana had 12,130 primary schools, 5,450 junior secondary schools, 503 senior secondary schools, 21 public training colleges, 18 technical institutions, two diploma-awarding institutions and 6 universities.
Most Ghanaians have relatively easy access to primary and secondary education. These numbers can be contrasted with the single university and handful of secondary and primary schools that existed at the time of independence in 1957. Ghana’s spending on education has varied between 28–40% of its annual budget in the past decade. All teaching is done in English, mostly by qualified Ghanaian educators.
The courses taught at the primary or basic school level include English, Ghanaian language and culture, mathematics,
environmental studies, social studies, Mandarin and French as an OIF associated-member; as further languages are added, integrated or general science, pre-vocational skills and pre-technical skills, religious and moral education, and physical activities such as Ghanaian music and dance, and physical education.
The senior high level school curriculum has core subjects and elective subjects of which students must take four the core subjects of English language, mathematics, integrated science (including science, agriculture and environmental studies) and social studies (economics, geography, history and government).
The high school students also choose 4 elective subjects from 5 available programmes: agriculture programme, general programme (arts or science option), business programme, vocational programme and technical programme. Apart from most primary and secondary schools which choose the Ghanaian system of schooling, there are also international schools such as the Takoradi International School, Tema International School, Galaxy International School, The Roman Ridge School, Lincoln Community School, Faith Montessori School, American International School, Association International School, New Nation School, SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College and International Community School, which offer the International Baccalaureat, Advanced Level General Certificate of Education and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
There are eight national public universities in Ghana, the University of Ghana (ranked 1,561), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (ranked 3,459), University of Cape Coast (ranked 3,620), University of Education (ranked 5,053), University for Development Studies (ranked 6,696), University of Mines and Technology (ranked 8,508), University Of Energy And Natural Resources and University of Health and Allied Sciences. Ghana also has a growing number of accredited private universities including Ghana Telecom University College (ranked 8,541), Ashesi University College (ranked 5,957), Methodist University College Ghana (ranked 9,051), Central University College (ranked 8,455), Regent University College of Science and Technology (ranked 6,676) and Valley View University (ranked 6,705).
The oldest university in Ghana; the University of Ghana, was founded in 1948. It had a total of 29,754 students in 2008. Its programmes in the Arts, Humanities, Business, and the Social Sciences, as well as Medicine are one of the best in the country.
The University of Ghana has seen a shift of its traditionally best students to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Since Ghana’s independence, the country has been one of the most educational in sub-saharan Africa. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been chancellor of the University of Ghana since 2008.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; the second university to be established in Ghana, is the premier university of science and technology in Ghana and West Africa.
The coat of arms depicts two animals: the tawny eagle (Aquila rapax, a very large bird that lives in the savannas and deserts; 35% of Ghana’s landmass is desert, 35% is forest, 30% is savanna) and the lion (Panthera leo, a big cat); a ceremonial sword, an heraldic castle on an heraldic sea, a cocoa tree and a mine shaft representing the industrial mineral wealth of Ghana, and a five-pointed black star rimmed with gold representing the mineral gold wealth of Ghana and the lodestar of the Ghanaian people. It also has the legend Freedom and Justice.
The flag of Ghana consists of three horizontal bands (strips) of red (top), gold (middle) and green (bottom); the three bands are the same height and width; the middle band bears a five-pointed black star in the centre of the gold band, the colour red band stands for the blood spilled to achieve the nation’s independence: gold stands for Ghana’s industrial mineral wealth, and the color green symbolizes the rich tropical rainforests and natural resources of Ghana.