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  Introduction Back To Top

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. Kufuor is constitutionally barred from running for a third term in upcoming Presidential elections, which are scheduled for December 2008.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.98 cu km/yr (24%/10%/66%)
per capita: 44 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
53.2 cu km (2001)

Land boundaries:
total: 2,094 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 549 km, Cote d'Ivoire 668 km, Togo 877 km

Environment - international agreements:
party 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

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

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
8 00 N, 2 00 W

Natural resources:
gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Afadjato 880 m

mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area

Geography - note:
Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake

total: 239,460 sq km
land: 230,940 sq km
water: 8,520 sq km

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

539 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Oregon

Irrigated land:
310 sq km (2003)

Environment - current 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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
dry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts

Land use:
arable land: 17.54%
permanent crops: 9.22%
other: 73.24% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.78 children born/woman (2008 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: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
3.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
350,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 59.49 years
male: 58.65 years
female: 60.35 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
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 (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.9%
male: 66.4%
female: 49.8% (2000 census)

Net migration rate:
-0.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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)

Median age:
total: 20.4 years
male: 20.2 years
female: 20.7 years (2008 est.)

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 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.4% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
1.928% (2008 est.)

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)

Death rate:
9.39 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 52.31 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.64 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 47.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
30,000 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2007)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.8% (male 4,470,382/female 4,360,359)
15-64 years: 58.7% (male 6,852,363/female 6,866,470)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 386,150/female 447,124) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
29.22 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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)

noun: Ghanaian(s)
adjective: Ghanaian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald G. TEITELBAUM
embassy: 24 4th Circular Rd. Cantonments, Accra
mailing address: P. O. Box 194, Accra
telephone: [233] (21) 741-000
FAX: [233] (21) 741-389

National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 March (1957)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
constitutional democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Christian 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)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Kwame BAWUAH-EDUSEI
chancery: 3512 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 686-4520
FAX: [1] (202) 686-4527
consulate(s) general: New York

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (230 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 2004 (next to be held 7 December 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NPP 128, NDC 94, PNC 4, CPP 3, independent 1

Legal system:
based on English common law and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
three 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

6 March 1957 (from UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Ghana
conventional short form: Ghana
former: Gold Coast

Political parties and leaders:
Convention People's Party or CPP [Ladi NYLANDER]; Democratic Freedom Party or DFP [Alhaji Abudu Rahman ISSAKAH]; Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere or EGLE; Great Consolidated Popular Party or GCPP [Dan LARTEY]; National Democratic Congress or NDC [Dr. Kwabena ADJEI]; New Patriotic Party or NPP [Peter MAC-MANU]; People's National Convention or PNC [Alhaji Amed RAMADAN]; Reform Party [Kyeretwie OPUKU]; United Renaissance Party or URP [Charles WAYO]

name: Accra
geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

approved 28 April 1992

Executive branch:
chief of state: President John Evans Atta MILLS (since 7 January 2009); Vice President John MAHAMA (since 7 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President John Agyekum KUFUOR (since 7 January 2001); Vice President Alhaji Aliu MAHAMA (since 7 January 2001)
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 2004 (next to be held 7 December 2008)
election results: John Agyekum KUFUOR reelected president in election; percent of vote - John KUFUOR 52.4%, John ATTA-MILLS 44.6%

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Netherlands 11%, UK 9%, France 6.2%, US 5.9%, Germany 4.6%, Belgium 4.4% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
6.76 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
13.5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
629 million kWh (2006 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1.807 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$5.697 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
11% (2000 est.)

Oil - exports:
5,709 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,500 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
31.9% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$4.173 billion (31 December 2006)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$34.52 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$17.72 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
39.4 (2005-06)

Exchange rates:
cedis (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

GDP - real growth rate:
6.3% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$2.179 billion (31 December 2006)

Labor force:
11.52 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Nigeria 15.1%, China 14.9%, UK 5.2%, US 5.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
16.4% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 37.3%
industry: 25.3%
services: 37.5% (2006 est.)

Oil - imports:
45,520 bbl/day (2005)

$5.439 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Ghana cedi (GHC)

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. 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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs

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

Electricity - exports:
755 million kWh (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line:
28.5% (2007 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

Stock of quasi money:
$2.174 billion (31 December 2006)

Electricity - production:
8.204 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$9.816 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
15 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 56%
industry: 15%
services: 29% (2005 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
22.65 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.301 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
49,300 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Public debt:
66.5% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.38 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 30.1% (1999)

Exports - commodities:
gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticulture

Economic aid - recipient:
$1.316 billion in loans and grants (2007)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 5%
hydro: 95%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $4.021 billion
expenditures: $5.521 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
7,571 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
650,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
376,500 (2007)

1.9 million (2001)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 86, shortwave 3 (2007)

12.5 million (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
7.604 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
7 (2007)

Telephone system:
general assessment: outdated and unreliable fixed-line infrastructure heavily concentrated in Accra; competition among multiple mobile-cellular providers has spurred growth with subscribership about 35 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 (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
12 (2000)

Internet hosts:
24,018 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

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)

oil 13 km; refined products 316 km (2007)

total: 953 km
narrow gauge: 953 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:

Merchant marine:
total: 4
by type: petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 3
foreign-owned: 1 (Brazil 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2007)

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

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2007)

12 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 5,802,096
females age 16-49: 5,729,939 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,737,481
females age 16-49: 3,729,699 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Ghanaian Army, Ghanaian Navy, Ghanaian Air Force (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 273,265
female: 267,204 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.8% of GDP (2006 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
Ghana struggles to accommodate returning nationals who worked in the cocoa plantations and escaped fighting in Cote d'Ivoire

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 35,653 (Liberia); 8,517 (Togo) (2007)

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

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