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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. A long series of coups resulted in the suspension of the constitution in 1981 and a ban on political parties. A new constitution, restoring multiparty politics, was approved in 1992. Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS, head of state since 1981, won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John KUFUOR, who defeated former Vice President Atta MILLS in a free and fair election, succeeded him.


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

Geographic coordinates:

8 00 N, 2 00 W


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

Land boundaries:

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


539 km

Maritime claims:

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


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


mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area

Elevation extremes:

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

Natural resources:

gold, 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:

310 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

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

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

Geography - note:

Lake 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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 38.8% (male 4,395,744/female 4,288,720)
15-64 years: 57.7% (male 6,450,828/female 6,483,781)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 371,428/female 419,071) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 19.9 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 20.1 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.07% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

30.52 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

9.72 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 55.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 59.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 58.87 years
male: 58.07 years
female: 59.69 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

3.99 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

3.1% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

350,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

30,000 (2003 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 are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2005)


noun: Ghanaian(s)
adjective: Ghanaian

Ethnic groups:

black African 98.5% (major tribes - Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%, Gurma 3%, Yoruba 1%), European and other 1.5% (1998)


Christian 63%, Muslim 16%, indigenous beliefs 21%


English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.8%
male: 82.7%
female: 67.1% (2003 est.)

Country name:

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

Government type:

constitutional democracy



Administrative divisions:

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


6 March 1957 (from UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 6 March (1957)


approved 28 April 1992

Legal system:

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


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral Parliament (230 seats; note - increased from 200 seats in last election; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 2004 (next to be held December 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NPP 128, NDC 92, other 10

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court

Economy - overview:

Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold, timber, and cocoa production are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 34% of GDP and employs 60% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program in 2002, but was included in a G-8 debt relief program decided upon at the Gleneagles Summit in July 2005. Priorities under its current $38 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) include tighter monetary and fiscal policies, accelerated privatization, and improvement of social services. Receipts from the gold sector helped sustain GDP growth in 2005 along with record high prices for Ghana's largest cocoa crop to date. Inflation should ease but remains a major internal problem. Ghana also remains a candidate country to benefit from Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funding that could assist in transforming Ghana's agricultural export sector. A final decision on its MCC bid is expected in spring 2006.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$51.9 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$9.233 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,400 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 35.5%
industry: 25.6%
services: 39% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

10.62 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 60%
industry: 15%
services: 25% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate:

20% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line:

31.4% (1992 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 30.1% (1999)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

30 (1999)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

15% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

24.6% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $3.216 billion
expenditures: $3.506 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

80.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

3.8% (2000 est.)

Electricity - production:

5.356 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

5.081 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

400 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

500 million kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

7,433 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - consumption:

39,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

8.255 million bbl (1 January 2002)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

23.79 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

Current account balance:

$57 million (2005 est.)


$2.911 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds

Exports - partners:

Netherlands 12.3%, UK 10%, France 6.9%, US 6.4%, Belgium 4.7%, Germany 4.5%, Japan 4.2% (2004)


$4.273 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

Nigeria 12.6%, China 11.4%, UK 6.6%, US 6.4%, France 4.9%, Netherlands 4.2% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$1.732 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$7.084 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$6.9 billion (1999)

Currency (code):

cedi (GHC)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

313,300 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

1.695 million (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: poor to fair system; Internet accessible; many rural communities not yet connected; expansion of services is underway
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay; wireless local loop has been installed
international: country code - 233; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); microwave radio relay link to Panaftel system connects Ghana to its neighbors; fiber optic submarine cable (SAT-3/WASC) provides connectivity to Europe and Asia

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 0, FM 49, shortwave 3 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:

10 (2001)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

384 (2005)

Internet users:

368,000 (2005)


12 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2005)


refined products 74 km (2004)


total: 953 km
narrow gauge: 953 km 1.067-m gauge (2004)


total: 47,787 km
paved: 8,563 km
unpaved: 39,224 km (2003)


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 (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 4 ships (1000 GRT or over) 6,308 GRT/9,418 DWT
by type: cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Brazil 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Takoradi, Tema

Military branches:

Army, Navy, Air Force

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): 40,853 (Liberia) (2005)

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