Ghana

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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. 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 won the 2008 presidential election and took over as head of state, but he died in July 2012 and was constitutionally succeeded by his vice president, John Dramani MAHAMA, who subsequently won the December 2012 presidential election.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

8.00° N, 2.00° W

Area 82/257

total: 238,533 sq km

land: 227,533 sq km

water: 11,000 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Oregon

Land boundaries

total: 2,420 km

border countries (3): Burkina Faso 602 km, Cote d'Ivoire 720 km, Togo 1,098 km

Coastline

539 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm

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

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Afadjato 885 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 69.1%

arable land 20.7%; permanent crops 11.9%; permanent pasture 36.5%

forest: 21.2%

other: 9.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

340 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

53.2 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.98 cu km/yr (24%/10%/66%)

per capita: 48.82 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards

dry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds 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

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

Geography - note

Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake (manmade reservoir) by surface area (8,482 sq km; 3,275 sq mi)

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Ghanaian(s)

adjective: Ghanaian

Ethnic groups

Akan 47.5%, Mole-Dagbon 16.6%, Ewe 13.9%, Ga-Dangme 7.4%, Gurma 5.7%, Guan 3.7%, Grusi 2.5%, Mande 1.1%, other 1.4% (2010 est.)

Languages

Asante 16%, Ewe 14%, Fante 11.6%, Boron (Brong) 4.9%, Dagomba 4.4%, Dangme 4.2%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.9%, Kokomba 3.5%, Akyem 3.2%, Ga 3.1%, other 31.2%

note: English is the official language (2010 est.)

Religions

Christian 71.2% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 28.3%, Protestant 18.4%, Catholic 13.1%, other 11.4%), Muslim 17.6%, traditional 5.2%, other 0.8%, none 5.2% (2010 est.)

Population 49/238

26,327,649

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 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 38.38% (male 5,076,131/female 5,027,960)

15-24 years: 18.69% (male 2,449,026/female 2,472,756)

25-54 years: 33.95% (male 4,338,197/female 4,598,796)

55-64 years: 4.84% (male 619,516/female 654,720)

65 years and over: 4.14% (male 505,056/female 585,491) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 73%

youth dependency ratio: 67.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 5.9%

potential support ratio: 17% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 20.9 years

male: 20.5 years

female: 21.4 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 41/233

2.18% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 38/224

31.09 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 123/225

7.22 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 167/222

-2.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 54% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 3.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Kumasi 2.599 million; ACCRA (capital) 2.277 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

22.6

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 32/184

319 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 59/224

total: 37.37 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 41.39 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 33.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 172/224

total population: 66.18 years

male: 63.76 years

female: 68.66 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 36/224

4.06 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

19.5% (2013)

Health expenditures 133/191

5.4% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.1 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 92.6% of population

rural: 84% of population

total: 88.7% of population

unimproved:

urban: 7.4% of population

rural: 16% of population

total: 11.3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 20.2% of population

rural: 8.6% of population

total: 14.9% of population

unimproved:

urban: 79.8% of population

rural: 91.4% of population

total: 85.1% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.47% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

250,200 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

9,200 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 140/191

10.9% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 55/138

13.4% (2011)

Education expenditures 13/173

8.1% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 11 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 12%

male: 10.2%

female: 11.2% (2010 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Ghana

conventional short form: Ghana

former: Gold Coast

etymology: named after the medieval West African kingdom of the same name, but whose location was actually further north than the modern country

Government type

constitutional democracy

Capital

name: Accra

geographic coordinates: 5.33° N, 0.13° W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

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

Independence

6 March 1957 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 March (1957)

Constitution

several previous; latest drafted 31 March 1992, approved and promulgated 28 April 1992, entered into force 7 January 1993; amended 1996 (2015)

Legal system

mixed system of English common law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Ghana

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 24 July 2012); Vice President Kwesi Bekoe AMISSAH-ARTHUR (since 6 August 2012); note - President MAHAMA assumed the presidency after the death of President John Atta MILLS and subsequently won the December 2012 presidential election; the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 24 July 2012); Vice President Kwesi Bekoe AMISSAH-ARTHUR (since 6 August 2012); note - President MAHAMA assumed the presidency after the death of President John Atta MILLS and subsequently won the December 2012 presidential election; the president is both chief of state and head of government

cabinet: Council of Ministers; nominated by the president, approved by Parliament

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 December 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)

election results: John Dramani MAHAMA elected president; percent of vote - John Dramani MAHAMA (NDC) 50.7%, Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO (NPP) 47.7%, other 1.6%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (275 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 7 - 8 December 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NPP 47.5%, NDC 46.4%, PNC 0.6%, independent 2.5%, other 3.0%; seats by party - NDC 150, NPP 120, PNC 1, independent 3, other 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 12 justices)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president in consultation with the Council of State (a small advisory body of prominent citizens) and with the approval of Parliament; other justices appointed by the president upon the advice of the Judicial Council (an 18-member independent body of judicial, military and police officials, and presidential nominees) and on the advice of the Council of State; justices can retire at age 60, with compulsory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Circuit Court; District Court; regional tribunals

Political parties and leaders

Convention People's Party or CPP [Samia NKRUMAH]

National Democratic Congress or NDC [John Dramani MAHAMA]

New Patriotic Party or NPP [Nana AFUKO-ADDO]

People's National Convention or PNC [Hassan AYARIGA]

note: listed are four of the more popular political parties as of December 2012; there are more than 20 registered parties

Political pressure groups and leaders

Christian Aid (water rights)

Committee for Joint Action or CJA (social and economic issues)

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 (social and economic issues)

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green, with a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; red symbolizes the blood shed for independence, yellow represents the country's mineral wealth, while green stands for its forests and natural wealth; the black star is said to be the lodestar of African freedom

note: 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

National symbol(s)

black star, golden eagle: national colors: red, yellow, green, black

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, in 1960 when a republic was declared and after a 1966 coup

Economy

Economy - overview

Ghana's economy was strengthened by a quarter century of relatively sound management, a competitive business environment, and sustained reductions in poverty levels, but in recent years has suffered the consequences of loose fiscal policy, high budget and current account deficits, and a depreciating currency. Ghana has a market-based economy with relatively few policy barriers to trade and investment in comparison with other countries in the region, and Ghana is well-endowed with natural resources.

Agriculture accounts for nearly one-quarter of GDP and employs more than half of the workforce, mainly small landholders. The services sector accounts for about half of GDP. Gold and cocoa exports, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. Expansion of Ghana’s nascent oil industry has boosted economic growth, but the recent oil price crash has reduced by half Ghana’s 2015 anticipated oil revenue. Production at Jubilee, Ghana's offshore oil field, began in mid-December 2010 and currently produces roughly 110,000 barrels per day. The country’s first gas processing plant at Atubao is also producing natural gas from the Jubilee field, providing power to several of Ghana’s thermal power plants.

As of 2015, the biggest single economic issue facing Ghana is the lack of consistent electricity. While the MAHAMA administration is taking steps to improve the situation, little progress has been made. Ghana signed a $920 million extended credit facility with the IMF in April 2015 to help it address its growing economic crisis. The IMF fiscal targets will require Ghana to reduce the fiscal deficit by cutting subsidies, decreasing the bloated public sector wage bill, strengthening revenue administration, and increasing revenues. The challenge for Ghana will come as the MAHAMA Administration approaches the 2016 election cycle facing public dissatisfaction in the midst of economic austerity.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 81/230

$113.3 billion (2015 est.)

$109.5 billion (2014 est.)

$105.3 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$37.68 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 74/225

3.5% (2015 est.)

4% (2014 est.)

7.3% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 175/230

$4,300 (2015 est.)

$4,200 (2014 est.)

$4,000 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 117/179

15.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

15.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

13.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 65.4%

government consumption: 18%

investment in fixed capital: 26.2%

investment in inventories: 0.9%

exports of goods and services: 35%

imports of goods and services: -45.5%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 20.7%

industry: 27.7%

services: 51.6% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

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

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate 41/202

4.5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 51/233

11.54 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 44.7%

industry: 14.4%

services: 40.9% (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate 55/207

5.2% (2013 est.)

Population below poverty line

24.2% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2%

highest 10%: 32.8% (2006)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 53/144

42.3 (2012-13)

41.9 (2005-06)

Budget

revenues: $8.123 billion

expenditures: $10.83 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 146/219

21.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 193/220

-7.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 36/176

76% of GDP (2015 est.)

70.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 218/226

16.9% (2015 est.)

15.5% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 4/156

21% (31 December 2014)

16% (31 December 2013)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 5/184

28.9% (31 December 2015 est.)

27% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 94/192

$5.751 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$5.64 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 103/193

$12.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$11.69 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 97/191

$12.91 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$13.82 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 93/121

$3.465 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$3.097 billion (31 December 2011)

$3.531 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 159/197

-$3.139 billion (2015 est.)

-$3.698 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 86/224

$10.75 billion (2015 est.)

$13.22 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

oil, gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticultural products

Exports - partners

China 10.7%, France 9%, Netherlands 7.3%, India 7.3%, South Africa 6.6%, Italy 6.5% (2014)

Imports 88/223

$13.42 billion (2015 est.)

$14.57 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital equipment, refined petroleum, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

China 25.5%, Nigeria 13.1%, Netherlands 8.2%, Cote d'Ivoire 7.2%, US 6.9%, India 4.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 91/170

$5.617 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$5.324 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 92/206

$17.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$15.83 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 77/120

$19.85 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

$118 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 55/105

$16.62 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

$109 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

cedis (GHC) per US dollar -

3.73 (2015 est.)

2.9 (2014 est.)

2.9 (2013 est.)

1.8 (2012 est.)

1.51 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 90/220

12.87 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - consumption 88/219

10.58 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - exports 77/218

122 million kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 107/219

27 million kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 96/214

2.847 million kW (2015 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 159/214

45.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 98/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 44/214

54.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 177/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 44/214

105,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 37/214

83,870 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 66/214

24,200 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 45/215

660 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 102/214

11,490 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 84/212

75,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 89/214

8,107 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 60/213

74,550 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 192/216

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 99/215

430 million cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 105/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 66/214

430 million cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 74/212

22.65 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 105/212

9.098 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 120/219

total subscriptions: 260,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 42/217

total: 30.4 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 118 (2014 est.)

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 80 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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 0, FM 86, shortwave 3 (2007)

Television broadcast stations

7 (2007)

Internet country code

.gh

Internet hosts 93/232

59,086 (2012)

Internet users 68/217

total: 5 million

percent of population: 19.6% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 156/236

10 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

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 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 394 km; oil 20 km; refined products 361 km (2013)

Railways 91/136

total: 947 km

narrow gauge: 947 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 43/223

total: 109,515 km

paved: 13,787 km

unpaved: 95,728 km (2009)

Waterways 56/107

1,293 km (168 km for launches and lighters on Volta, Ankobra, and Tano Rivers; 1,125 km of arterial and feeder waterways on Lake Volta) (2011)

Merchant marine 133/156

total: 4

by type: petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 3

foreign-owned: 2 (Brazil 1, South Korea 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Takoradi, Tema

Military and Security

Military branches

Ghana Army, Ghana Navy, Ghana Air Force (2012)

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for voluntary military service, with basic education certificate; no conscription; must be HIV/AIDS negative (2012)

Military expenditures 125/132

0.56% of GDP (2014)

0.61% of GDP (2013)

0.27% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

disputed maritime border between Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 9,779 (Cote d'Ivoire; flight from 2010 post-election fighting); 5,262 (Liberia) (2014)

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