Ghana

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Republic of Ghana
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: "Freedom and Justice"
Anthem: "God Bless Our Homeland Ghana"[1]
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National seal
Seal of the Republic of Ghana
Location of  Ghana  (red)
Location of  Ghana  (red)
Capital
Accra Metropolitan Assembly logo.jpg
Accra
5°33′N 0°15′W / 5.550°N 0.250°W / 5.550; -0.250
Largest cityAccra
Official languages[2]English
Ethnic groups (2010[3])
DemonymGhanaian
GovernmentUnitary presidential
constitutional republic
 - PresidentJohn Dramani Mahama
 - Vice-PresidentKwesi Amissah-Arthur
LegislatureParliament
Independence from the United Kingdom
 - Declared6 March 1957 
 - Realm6 March 1957 – 1 July 1960 
 - Republic1 July 1960 
 - Current constitution28 April 1992 
Area
 - Total238,535 km2 (81st)
92,099 sq mi
 - Water (%)4.61 (11,000 km2 / 4,247 mi2)
Population
 - 2010 estimate24.2 million[4]
 - Density101.5/km2 (103rd)
258.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
 - Total$97.5 billion[5]
 - Per capita$3,718.4[5]
GDP (nominal)2014 estimate
 - Total$50 billion[5]
 - Per capita$1,902.9[5]
HDI (2013)Increase 0.558[6]
medium · 135th
CurrencyGhana cedi (GH₵) (GHS)
Time zoneGMT (UTC+0)
Drives on theright
Calling code+233
ISO 3166 codeGH
Internet TLD.gh
Map of the Gulf of Guinea showing Ghana and its 2,093 kilometer international borders.
 
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Republic of Ghana
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: "Freedom and Justice"
Anthem: "God Bless Our Homeland Ghana"[1]
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
National seal
Seal of the Republic of Ghana
Location of  Ghana  (red)
Location of  Ghana  (red)
Capital
Accra Metropolitan Assembly logo.jpg
Accra
5°33′N 0°15′W / 5.550°N 0.250°W / 5.550; -0.250
Largest cityAccra
Official languages[2]English
Ethnic groups (2010[3])
DemonymGhanaian
GovernmentUnitary presidential
constitutional republic
 - PresidentJohn Dramani Mahama
 - Vice-PresidentKwesi Amissah-Arthur
LegislatureParliament
Independence from the United Kingdom
 - Declared6 March 1957 
 - Realm6 March 1957 – 1 July 1960 
 - Republic1 July 1960 
 - Current constitution28 April 1992 
Area
 - Total238,535 km2 (81st)
92,099 sq mi
 - Water (%)4.61 (11,000 km2 / 4,247 mi2)
Population
 - 2010 estimate24.2 million[4]
 - Density101.5/km2 (103rd)
258.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
 - Total$97.5 billion[5]
 - Per capita$3,718.4[5]
GDP (nominal)2014 estimate
 - Total$50 billion[5]
 - Per capita$1,902.9[5]
HDI (2013)Increase 0.558[6]
medium · 135th
CurrencyGhana cedi (GH₵) (GHS)
Time zoneGMT (UTC+0)
Drives on theright
Calling code+233
ISO 3166 codeGH
Internet TLD.gh
Map of the Gulf of Guinea showing Ghana and its 2,093 kilometer international borders.

Ghana (Listeni/ˈɡɑːnə/), officially called the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign state and unitary presidential constitutional republic, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in West Africa. The country is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means "Warrior King".[7] Prior to colonization by the British in the mid-19th century, Ghana was the site of numerous kingdoms and empires. In 1957, it became the first African nation to declare independence from Europe.[8][9][10]

Ghana has a land mass of 238,535 km2, with 2,093 kilometres of international land borders. It is a democratic constitutional republic comprised of ten administrative regions, with a multiethnic population of around 24 million as of 2010. Its varied geography includes savannas, woodlands, forests, a coastal line, springs, cave systems, mountains, estuaries, wildlife parks, and nature reserves.[11][12][13] The coast of Ghana, which is comprised mainly of sandy beaches, stretches 560 kilometres (350 miles) and includes a rich assortment of culturally significant castles, forts, ports and harbours.[13]

One of the most stable and developed countries in Africa, Ghana's economy is among the largest in the continent and one of the fastest growing in the world.[14] It is a significant petroleum and natural gas producer, one of the world's largest gold and diamond producers, and the second largest producer of cocoa in the world.[15] Ghana is home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.[16] Ghana is a regional power in West Africa,[17] a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and a member of both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of 24 (G24).[18]

Name and etymology

An ancient Middle Ages Akan warrior akrafena sword of Ghana.

The word Ghana means "Warrior King" and was the title accorded to the kings of the medieval Ghana Empire in West Africa, although this empire was further north than the modern-day country of Ghana in Guinea region.[19]

The name "Ghana" was the source of the name "Guinea" (via French Guinoye) used to refer to the West African coast off Ghana (as in Gulf of Guinea).[20]

Ghana was adopted as the legal name for the area comprising four separate parts which immediately before independence enjoyed distinct constitutional positions:[21]

The minister responsible for shepherding through the independence legislation Charles Arden-Clarke Lord Listowel explained that the name was chosen "in accordance with local wishes".[22]

History

16th – 17th century Akan Terracotta, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Ghana was inhabited in the Middle Ages and the age of discovery by a number of ancient predominantly Akan kingdoms, including the Ashanti Empire, the Akwamu, the Bonoman, the Denkyira, and the Mankessim Kingdom. There is archaeological evidence showing that humans have lived in present-day Ghana since the Bronze Age.[23] However, until the 11th century, the majority of modern Ghana's territorial area was largely unoccupied and uninhabited by humans.[24] Although the area of present-day Ghana in West Africa has experienced many population movements, the Akans were firmly settled by the 10th century.[25] By the early 11th century, the Akans were firmly established in the Akan state called Bonoman, for which the Brong-Ahafo region is named.[25][26]

From the 13th century, Akans emerged from what is believed to have been the Bonoman area, to create several Akan states of Ghana, mainly based on gold trading. These states included Bonoman (Brong-Ahafo region), Ashanti (Ashanti region), Denkyira (Central region), Mankessim Kingdom (Western region), and Akwamu (Eastern region and Greater Accra region).[25] By the 19th century; the territory of the southern part of Ghana was included in the Kingdom of Ashanti, one of the most influential states in sub-saharan Africa prior to the onset of colonialism.[25] The Kingdom of Ashanti government operated first as a loose network, and eventually as a centralised kingdom with an advanced, highly specialised bureaucracy centred in the capital city of Kumasi.[25] It is said that at its peak; the King of the Empire of Ashanti, Asantehene could field 500,000 troops, and it had strong degree of military influence over all of its neighbours within West Africa.[27][28] Prior to Akan contact with Europeans, trade between the Akan and various West African states flourished due to Akan gold wealth. Trade with European states began after contact with Portuguese in the 15th century. Early European contact by the Portuguese people, who came to the Gold Coast region in the 15th century to trade then established the Portuguese Gold Coast (Costa do Ouro), focused on the extensive availability of gold.[29] The Portuguese first landed at a south coastal city, and named the place Elmina as the Portuguese Gold Coast's capital city.[29] In 1481, King John II of Portugal commissioned Diogo d'Azambuja to build Elmina Castle, which was completed in three years.[29] By 1598, the Dutch people had joined the Portuguese people in gold trading, establishing the Dutch Gold Coast (Nederlandse Bezittingen ter Kuste van Guinea) and building forts at Komeda and Kormantsi.[30] In 1617, the Dutch captured the Olnini Castle from the Portuguese, and Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders had joined in gold trading by the mid-17th century, most notably the Swedish people, establishing the Swedish Gold Coast (Svenska Guldkusten), and the Danish people, establishing the Danish Gold Coast (Danske Guldkyst or Dansk Guinea). Portuguese merchants, impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it Costa do Ouro or Gold Coast.[31]

More than thirty forts and castles were built by the Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Dutch and German merchants; the latter German people establishing the German Gold Coast (Brandenburger Gold Coast or Groß Friedrichsburg).[32] In 1874 England established control over some parts of the country assigning these areas the status of British Gold Coast.[33] Many military engagements occurred between the British colonial powers and the various Akan nation-states and the Akan Kingdom of Ashanti defeated the British a few times in a warfare against the United Kingdom that lasted for 100 years, but eventually lost with the War of the Golden Stool in the early 1900s.[34][35][35][36] In 1947, the newly formed United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) by The Big Six called for "self-government within the shortest possible time".[31][37] Dr.h.c. Kwame Nkrumah is the first Prime Minister of Ghana and President of Ghana and formed the Convention People's Party (CPP) with the motto "self-government now".[31] The coastal Gold Coast region 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 colonization.[8][9][10]

Within West Africa until the establishment of Ghana in March 1957, the territory of modern Ghana, excluding the Volta Region (British Togoland), was known as the Gold Coast region.[31] On 6 March 1957 at 12 a.m Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana's establishment and autonomy as the first Prime Minister of Ghana and on 1 July 1960, Nkrumah declared Ghana as a republic as the first President of Ghana.[31] The flag of Ghana, consisting of the colours red, gold, green, and the black star, became the new flag in 1957. Designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh, the red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold represents the industrial minerals wealth of Ghana, the green symbolises the rich grasslands of Ghana, and the black star is the symbol of the Ghanaian people and African emancipation.[38]

The first Prime Minister of Ghana and President of Ghana Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah won a majority in the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly in 1952, Nkrumah was appointed leader of the Gold Coast's government business.[31] Kwame Nkrumah, first Prime Minister of Ghana, and then President of Ghana, was the first African head of state to promote Pan-Africanism, an idea he came into contact with during his studies at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in the United States, at the time when Marcus Garvey was becoming famous for his "Back to Africa Movement". Nkrumah merged the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the naturalized Ghanaian scholar W. E. B. Du Bois into the formation of 1960s Ghana.[31]

Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as he became known, played an instrumental part in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement and his life achievements were recognised by Ghanaians during his centenary birthday celebration, and the day was instituted as a public holiday. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's government was subsequently overthrown by a military coup while he was abroad with Zhou Enlai in the People's Republic of China in February 1966.

A series of alternating military and civilian governments from 1966 to 1981 ended with the ascension to power of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings of the Provisional National Defense Council (NDC) in 1981.[39] These changes resulted in the suspension of the constitution in 1981, and the banning of political parties.[40] The economy suffered a severe decline soon after, Kwame Darko negotiated a structural adjustment plan changing many old economic policies, and economic growth soon recovered from the mid-2000s.[40] A new constitution restoring multi-party politics was promulgated in 1992; Rawlings was elected as president then, and again in 1996.[41] Winning the 2000 elections, John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was sworn into office as president in January 2001, and attained the presidency again in 2004, thus also serving two terms as president and thus marking the first time that power had been transferred to one legitimately elected head of state and head of government to another, and securing Ghana's status as a stable democracy.[41]

Government

Parliament House of Ghana seat of the Government of Ghana, the Supreme Court of Ghana and Judiciary of Ghana buildings, Osu Castle is the defacto residence of presidency and the Golden Jubilee House is the official residence and presidential palace. First President of the Republic of Ghana Nkrumah and Presidents of the 4th Republic of Ghana Rawlings; Kufuor; Mills and Mahama.

Ghana is a unitary presidential constitutional republic with a parliamentary multi-party system and former alternating military occupation. Following alternating military and civilian governments in January 1993, the Ghana military government gave way to the Fourth Republic of Ghana after presidential and parliamentary elections in late 1992. The 1992 constitution divides powers among a president, parliament, cabinet, council of state, and an independent judiciary. The government is elected by universal suffrage.[42] The Electoral Commission of Ghana announced that former Vice-President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama won the Ghana presidential election, 2012 on 7 December 2012 and John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as the reigning President of Ghana on 7 January 2013 serving a 4-years term length that expires approximately on Saturday 7 January 2017 amidst announcement of electoral fraud.[43]

The 2012 Failed States Index indicated that Ghana is ranked the 67th least failed state in the world and the 5th least failed state in Africa after Mauritius, 2nd Seychelles, 3rd Botswana, and 4th South Africa. Ghana ranked 112th out of 177 countries on the index.[44] 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.[45][46] 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.[47]

Foreign relations

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.[48]

Ghana has a great relationship with the United States, all of the last three U.S presidents- Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama- have all made diplomatic trips to Ghana. 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.[42]

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.[49] 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.[50]

Regions

Ghana is divided into 10 administrative regions, sub-divided into 275 districts:[51][52][53]

Regions of GhanaArea (km²)Regions of Ghana capital
Ashanti Region24,389Kumasi
Ashanti RegionBrong-Ahafo RegionCentral Region, GhanaEastern Region, GhanaGreater Accra RegionNorthern Region, GhanaUpper East RegionUpper West RegionVolta RegionWestern Region, GhanaA clickable map of Ghana exhibiting its ten regions.
About this image
Brong-Ahafo Region39,557Sunyani
Central Region9,826Cape Coast
Eastern Region19,323Koforidua
Greater Accra Region3,245Accra
Northern Region70,384Tamale
Upper East Region8,842Bolgatanga
Upper West Region18,476Wa
Volta Region20,570Ho
Western Region23,941Sekondi-Takoradi

Geography

Reefs and lagoons on the coast of Ghana, and Lake Volta in Ghana is the largest reservoir and man-made lake in the world.

Ghana is located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, therefore giving it a warm climate.[54] Ghana spans an area of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), and has an Atlantic coastline that stretches 560 kilometres (350 miles) on the Gulf of Guinea in Atlantic Ocean to its south.[54] lies between latitudes 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.[54] 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.[55] Grasslands mixed with south coastal shrublands and forests dominate Ghana, with forest extending northward from the south-west coast of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean 320 kilometers (200 miles) and eastward for a maximum of about 270 kilometers (170 miles) with the Kingdom of Ashanti or the southern part of Ghana being a primary location for mining of industrial minerals and timber.[54] 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.[56] The northernmost part of Ghana is Pulmakong and the southernmost part of Ghana is Cape three points.[54]

Defense

Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Military Technologies

In 1957, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) consisted of its headquarters, support services, three battalions of infantry and a reconnaissance squadron with armoured vehicles.[57] Ghanaian Prime Minister and President Kwame Nkrumah aimed at rapidly expanding the GAF to support the United States of Africa ambitions. Thus in 1961, 4th and 5th Battalions were established, and in 1964 6th Battalion was established, from a parachute airborne unit originally raised in 1963.[58]

Today, Ghana is a regional power and regional hegemony.[17] In his book Shake Hands with the Devil, Canadian Forces commander Roméo Dallaire highly rated the GAF soldiers.[57]

Defense budget

Ghana Military–industrial complex and Defense industry budgetary history
Ghana Defence budget percentage growth.jpgGhana Defence budget percentage per GDP.jpg
Ghana Armed Forces Defense budget percentage growth rateGhana Armed Forces Defense budget percentage

Law enforcement and police

The Ghana Police Service (GPS) is the main law enforcement agency of the Republic of Ghana and responsible for the detection of crime, maintenance of law and order and the maintenance of internal peace and security.[59] The Ghana Police Service has eleven specialized police units including a Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) and Marine Police Unit (MPU).[60][61] The Ghana Police Service operates in twelve divisions: ten covering the ten regions of Ghana, one assigned specifically to the seaport and industrial hub of Tema, and the twelfth being the Railways, Ports and Harbours Division.[61] The Ghana Police Service's Marine Police Unit and Division handles issues that arise from the country's offshore oil and gas industry.[61]

The Ghana Prisons Service and the sub-division Borstal Institute for Juveniles administers incarceration in Ghana.[62] Ghana retains and exercises the death penalty for treason, corruption, robbery, piracy, drug trafficking, rape, and homicide.[63][64] 27 convicts (all men) were sentenced to death in Ghana in 2012 and the Ghana Prisons Service statistics of the total number of convicts sentenced to death in Ghana as at December 2012 was 162 men and 4 women,[63] with a total prison inmate population of 13,983 convicts as at 22 July 2013.[65]

Narcotics industry and drug cartels

Ghana is among the sovereign states of West Africa used by drug cartels and drug traffickers (shown in orange).

Ghana has been used as a key narcotics industry transshipment point by traffickers.[66] There is not wide popular knowledge about the narcotics industry and intercepted narcotics in Ghana due to the involvement of the black economy.[citation needed] The social context within which narcotic trafficking, storage, transportation, and repacking systems exist in Ghana and the state's location along the Gulf of Guinea within the Atlantic Ocean – only a few degrees north of the Equator – makes Ghana an attractive country for the narcotics business.[66][67]

The Narcotic Control Board (NACOB), in collaboration with an internal counterpart, has impounded container ships at the Sekondi Naval Base within the Takoradi Harbour. These ships were carrying millions of kilograms of the narcotic cocaine, with a street value running into billions of Ghana cedis. However, drug seizures saw a decline in 2011.[66][67] Drug cartels and drug lords of Ghana are using new methods in narcotics production and narcotics exportation, worth billions of Ghana cedis annually, in order to avoid Ghanaian security agencies.[66][67] Income inequality, underdeveloped institutions and criminal justice system, porous open borders, and the existence of established smuggling organizations contribute to Ghana's position in the narcotics industry.[66][67] John Atta Mills, president between 2009 and 2012, initiated ongoing efforts to reduce the role of airports in Ghana's drug trade.[66]

Economy

Real GDP rate of growth of the Ghana economy in percentage. The Ghanaian economy maintains the most rapid and highest GDP growth rates on the Africa continent and was the second highest GDP growth in the world, recording over 14% GDP growth in the year 2011 with fellow petroleum and natural gas producer Qatar as first and Ghana recorded 8.7% GDP growth in 2012. The Takoradi Harbour seaport was established in 1928 and is Ghana's main export outlet. Ghana maintains one of the worlds fastest growing and expanding shipping industry

Ghana is a relatively wealthy natural resource rich country possessing a great abundance of industrial minerals, hydrocarbons and other vast array of natural resources and is an emerging designated digital economy with mixed economy hybridization and an emerging market with 8.7% GDP growth in 2012 and an economic plan target known as the "Ghana Vision 2020" that will see Ghana become the first country on the Africa continent to become a developed country from the years 2020 to 2029 followed by a newly industrialised country from the years 2030 to 2039 onwards excluding fellow Group of 24 (G24) member and Sub-Saharan African country South Africa which is a newly industrialised country,[68] and the economy of Ghana is tied to the Chinese Yuan Renminbi along with Ghana's vast gold reserves and in 2013 the Bank of Ghana (BoG) began circulating the Renminbi throughout Ghanaian state-owned banks and to the Ghana public as hard currency along with the national Ghana cedi for second national trade currency.[69]

Ghana, a wealthy country with vast natural resources has a current Middle Income country rank and is an Emerging Economy.[5][70] Services account for 50% of Ghanaian gross domestic product, followed by manufacturing (24.1%), extractive industries (5%), and taxes (20.9%).[71]

Economy of Ghana Vision 2020 logo: Ghana to become a developed country from the years 2020–2029 then Ghana immediately become a newly industrialised country from the years 2030–2039 onwards.

Key Sectors

The Ghana economy is an emerging digital-based mixed economy hybrid modelled towards that of Taiwan with an increasing primary manufacturing and exportation of digital technology goods along with assembling and exporting automobiles and ships, diverse resource rich exportations of industrial minerals, agricultural products primarily cocoa, petroleum and natural gas,[72] and industries such as information and communications technology primarily via Ghana's state digital technology corporation Rlg Communications which manufactures tablet computers with smart phones and various electronics, electricity generation primarily via Ghana's state-owned hydropower company Volta River Authority and state-owned hydrocarbon corporation Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.[71][73] 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.[74][75][76] Known for its industrial minerals, 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 and Ghana is the designated 2nd largest producer of gold on the Africa continent behind the designated first South Africa.[77] Ghana has the 9th largest reserves of diamonds in the world and Ghana is the 9th largest producer of diamonds in the world with Brazil having the 10th largest reserves of diamonds in the world and being the 10th largest producer of diamonds in the world.[78] The Parliament of Ghana has drawn plans to nationalize Ghana's entire mining industry for greater revenues for Ghana.[79][80][81] Ghana is the designated 2nd largest producer of cocoa in the world,[15][82] and other hydrocarbon exports such as crude oil and natural gas.[83] The 100% state-owned filling station company of Ghana, Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) is the number 1 petroleum and gas filling station of Ghana and the 100% state-owned state oil company Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) administrates hydrocarbon exploration and production of Ghana's entire petroleum and natural gas reserves and Ghana aims to further increase output of oil to 2.2 million barrels per day and gas to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day.[84] Ghana's Jubilee Oilfield which contains up to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of sweet crude oil was discovered in 2007, among the many other offshore and inland oilfields in Ghana.[85] Ghana is believed to have up to 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3) to 7 billion barrels (1.1×109 m3) of petroleum in reserves,[86] which is the sixth largest in Africa and the 25th largest proven reserves in the world and Ghana has up to 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in reserves.[87] Oil and gas exploration off Ghana's eastern coast on the Gulf of Guinea is ongoing, and the amount of both crude oil and natural gas continues to increase. The Parliament of Ghana has drawn plans to nationalize Ghana's entire petroleum and natural gas reserves for greater revenues for the government of Ghana.[88] In addition, the government has sought to build the second nuclear power plant in Africa.

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.[89] 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.[89] The economic centre is IE Singapore's second office in Africa, coming six months after opening in Johannesburg, South Africa in January 2013.[89] Ghana's labour force in 2008 totalled 11.5 million Ghanaian citizens.[90][91] Tema harbour is Africa's largest manmade harbour and Takoradi harbour along with Tema harbour in Ghana handles goods and exports for Ghana, they are also a traffic junctions, where goods are transhipped, the Tema harbour handles the majority of the nation's export cargo and most of the country's chief exports is shipped from Takoradi harbour.[92][93] The Takoradi harbour and Tema harbour are operated by the state-owned Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.[92][93]

Real estate

A middle-class luxury villa house with swimming pool development in East Ridge

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.[94][95][96] Kumasi is growing at a faster rate than Accra, and there is less competition in its real estate market.[94] 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.[94][95] The activities of these 3 groups are facilitated by the Ghanaian banks and the primary mortgage market which has demonstrated enormous growth potential.[95][95] 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.[94][95] The real estate market investment perspective and attraction comes from Ghana's tropical location and robust political stability.[94][95] 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.[94][95]

Economic Transparency

According to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index of 2013, out of 177 countries, Ghana ranked 63rd with Cuba and Saudi Arabia. Ghana had a score of 46 on a scale where a 0–9 score means highly corrupt, and a 90–100 score means very clean. This was based on perceived levels of public sector corruption.[97] Previously in 2012, the country ranked 64 and scored 45. Thus, Ghana's public sector is seen as more corrupt in 2013 than in 2012, according to CPI's scores.

Aside international reports of corruption in Ghana, local reports have also claimed that Ghana loses US$4.5 billion every year (annually) from gross domestic product (GDP) growth as a result of economic corruption and economic crime by the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Ghana led by John Dramani Mahama.[98] It is also said Ghana has lost an additional US$2.5 billion from gross domestic product (GDP) growth between the months of January 2013 to October 2013 through economic corrupt practices under the Mahama administration.[99] There is public call from Ghanaians for the impeachment of John Dramani Mahama.[99]

The incumbent president is however seen to be fighting corruption by some government members[100] and a fellow politician of an opposition party[101] after ordering investigations into scandals. Nonetheless others believe his actions aren't satisfactory in some cases.[102]

Demographics

From top to bottom and left to right:
Ghanaian Akan girl in traditional Kente attire from Bonwire
Ghanaian Model and Viasat 1 Television Presenter; Sonia Ibrahim •
Ghanaian Actor; Van Vicker
Ghanaian Model and Television Presenter; Deborah Owusu-Bonsu
Ghanaian Journalist and Convention People's Party Chairwoman; Samia Nkrumah
Ghanaian Nobel Laureate and UN Secretary General; Kofi Annan
Religious affiliation in Ghana
Affiliation2000 census[103]2010 census[104]
Christian68.8%71.2%
Muslim15.9%17.6%
Traditional8.5%5.2%
None6.1%5.2%
Other0.7%0.8%

The vast majority of Ghanaians are Black Africans. 98% percent to be exact.[105] Ghana is a multiethnic country with over 100 ethnic and linguistic groups .[106] The largest is the Ashante. Ghana's territorial area within West Africa was unoccupied and uninhabited by humans until the 10th century A.D.[24] In the 10th century A.D. Akans became first settlers and established Bonoman (Brong Ahafo region) in the 11th century prior to establishing the Akan Kingdom of Ashanti then Akans were joined and followed by African settlers and inhabitants in the 16th century A.D[citation needed] and the Akan created an advanced economy based on principally gold and gold bar commodities then traded with the states of West Africa.[25] There are 15 million inhabitants with Ghanaian passports (Ghanaian people with Ghanaian citizenship) while there are 375,000 registered legal skilled workers (permanent residents) or foreign workers/students (i.e. Ghana card holders) inhabitants with an annually 1.5 million transited airport layovers. Ghana had a population of 6.7 million in 1960.[107] The median age of Ghanaian citizens is 30 years old and the average household size is 3.6 persons. 60% (15 million) of the Ghana legal resident population are Ghanaian nationals and whom the majority are Akans.[3] The Akans are the majority inhabitants and 11.5 million (76.6%) of the 15 million Ghanaian citizenry (Ghanaian people) inhabiting population are Akans with a small number (2.5 million) of African minorities from over the centuries (16.7%).[3][108] The official language is English and is spoken by 90% of the inhabiting population; however, 75% of the inhabiting population also speak the Akan language, and 100% of the inhabiting population speak the Niger–Congo languages.[109]

Fertility rate declined from 3.99 (2000) to 3.28 (2010) with 2.78 in Urban region and 3.94 in rural region.[110]

Illegal immigration

Ghana had a 2010 reported inhabiting population of about 24 million inhabitants in which 15 million inhabitants were Ghanaian nationals with Ghanaian citizenship and there was a Government of Ghana and Ghana Immigration Service 2010 inhabiting population of 3 million aliens and 6 million Illegal immigrants inhabiting Ghana and in 1969 under the "Ghana Aliens Compliance Order" (GACO) enacted by the Prime Minister of Ghana Kofi Abrefa Busia;[111] Government of Ghana deported over 3 million aliens and illegal immigrants in 3 months as they made up 20% of the inhabiting population at the time.[111][112]

Culture

Ghana has a multicultural society that is predominantly influenced by the ancient kingdoms of the Akan and Ghanaian culture is diverse and a mixture of the cultures of the Ghanaian people.[113]

Food

Banku & Grilled Tilapia and Roasted delicacy (Ghanaian cuisines)

Ghanaian cuisine and gastronomy 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.[114] Fish is important in the Ghanaian diet with tilapia, roasted and fried whitebait, smoked fish and crayfish all being common components of Ghanaian dishes.[114] Banku is a common Ghanaian starchy food made from ground corn (maize),[114] 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).[114] Banku and tilapia is a combo served in most Ghanaian restaurants.[114] Fufu is the most common exported Ghanaian dish in that it is a delicacy aross the African diaspora.[114]

Literature

The Ghanaian national literature radio program and accompanying publication Voices of Ghana was one of the earliest on the African continent. The most prominent Ghanaian authors are novelists; J. E. Casely Hayford, Ayi Kwei Armah and Nii Ayikwei Parkes, who gained international acclaim with the books, Ethiopia Unbound (1911), The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968) and Tail of the Blue Bird (2009), respectively.[115] In addition to novels, other literature arts such as Ghanaian theatre and poetry have also had a very good development and support at the national level with prominent Ghanaian playwrights and poets Joe de Graft and Efua Sutherland.[115]

Adinkra

During the 13th century, Ghanaians developed their unique art of adinkra printing. Hand-printed and hand-embroidered adinkra clothes were made and used exclusively by the then Ghanaian royalty for devotional ceremonies. Each of the motifs that make up the corpus of adinkra symbolism has a name and meaning derived from a proverb, a historical event, human attitude, ethology, plant life-form, or shapes of inanimate and man-made objects. These are graphically rendered in stylized geometric shapes. The meanings of the motifs may be categorized into aesthetics, ethics, human relations, and concepts.[115]

Traditional Clothing

Along with the Adinkra cloth Ghanaian's use many different cloth fabrics for their traditional attire. The different ethic groups have their own individual cloth. The most well known is the Kente cloth. Kente is a very important Ghanaian national costume and clothing and these cloths are used to make traditional and modern Ghanaian Kente attire.[113] Different symbols and different colours mean different things.[113] Kente is the most famous of all the Ghanaian cloths.[113] 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.[113] Cloths come in various colours, sizes and designs and are worn during very important social and religious occasions.[113] 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.[113] 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.[113] 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.[113]

Music and dance

Ghana Cultural Dance Group performing Ghanaian dance forms and wearing the Ghanaian kente cloth clothing; and Ghana drummers.

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 African jazz which was created by Ghanaian artist Kofi Ghanaba.[116] 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.[113]

Ghanaian dance is as diverse as its music, and there are traditional dances and different dances for different occasions.[113] The most known Ghanaian dances are those for celebrations. Some of these dances include Adowa, Kpanlogo, Azonto, Klama, and Bamaya.[113]

Film

Ghana has a budding and thriving film industry. Ghana's film industry dates as far back as 1948 when the Gold Coast Film Unit was set up in the Information Services Department.[117] Some internationally recognized films have come from Ghana. In 1970, I Told You So was one of the first Ghanaian films to received international acknowledgement and great reviews by the New York Times.[118] It was followed by the 1973 Ghanaian and Italian production The African Deal also known as "Contratto carnale" featuring Bahamian American actor Calvin Lockhart.[119] 1983's Kukurantumi: the Road to Accra, a Ghanaian and German production directed by King Ampaw was written about by famous American film critic Vincent Canby[120] In 1987, Cobra Verde another Ghanaian and German production directed by Werner Herzog received international acclamation and in 1988, Heritage Africa won more than 12 film awards.

In recent times there has been some collaboration between Ghanaian and Nigerian crew and cast with a number of productions being turned out. Many Ghanaian films are co-produced with Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry and some are distributed by Nigerian marketers. Also, Nigerian filmmakers usually feature Ghanaian actors in their movies and Ghanaian filmmakers feature Nigerian actors in theirs. Nadia Buari, a popular Ghanaian actress, has starred in many Nigerian movies. As a result of these collaborations, Western viewers oftentimes confused Ghanaian movies with Nollywood and count their sales as one; however, they are two independent industries that sometimes share the colloquial Nollywood. In 2009, Unesco described Nollywood as being the second-biggest film industry in the world after Bollywood.[121]

Media

Ghana mass media, news and information provided by television

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.[122] 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.[123] 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.[124] 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.[125]

Sports

Ghanaian winter sports olympic team at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Association football is the most spectated sport in Ghana and the national men's football team is known as the Black Stars, with the under-20 team known as the Black Satellites. Ghana has participated in many championships including the African Cup of Nations with 4 titles, the FIFA World Cup twice and the FIFA U-20 World Cup with 1 title. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Ghana became the third African country to reach the quarter-final stage of the World Cup after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.[126] Ghana national U-20 football team, known as the Black Satellites, is considered to be the feeder team for the Ghana national football team. Ghana is the first and only country on the Africa continent to be crowned FIFA U-20 World Cup Champions and two-time runners up in 1993 and 2001. The Ghana national U-17 football team known as the Black Starlets are two-time FIFA U-17 World Cup champions in 1991 and 1995, two-time runners up in 1993 and 1997.[113]

Football is the most popular sport in Ghana

Ghanaian football teams Asante Kotoko SC and Accra Hearts of Oak SC are the 5th and 9th best football teams on the Africa continent and have won a total of five Africa continental association football and Confederation of African Football trophies; Ghanaian football club Asante Kotoko SC has been crowned two-time CAF Champions League winners in 1970, 1983 and five-time CAF Champions League runners up, and Ghanaian football club Accra Hearts of Oak SC has been crowned 2000 CAF Champions League winner and two-time CAF Champions League runners up, 2001 CAF Super Cup champions and 2004 CAF Confederation Cup champions.[127] The International Federation of Football History and Statistics crowned Asante Kotoko SC as the African club of the 20th century.[127] There are several club football teams in Ghana that play in the Ghana Premier League and Division One League, both administered by the Ghana Football Association.[113]

Ghana 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.[128] 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,[129] taking part in the slalom skiing.[130]

Ghana finished 47th out of 102 participating nations, of whom 54 finished in the Alpine skiing slalom.[131][132] Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong broke on the international skiing circuit, being the second black African skier to do so.[133]

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.[134]

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.[113]

Education

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%.[135]

The youth female and male ages 15–24 years literacy rate in Ghana was 81% in 2010, with males at 82%,[136] and females at 80%.[137]

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.[138]

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.[139]

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.[140][141]

Elementary

Ghana Elementary local and international students and school teachers from Roman Ridge School in Ghana

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.[139]

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,[142] 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.[139]

High school

Ghana High school Students of the Accra Academy; Learning Science and undertaking Scientific tests in Science Laboratory.

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).[139]

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.[139] 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).[140]

University

Front view of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) North Campus in Winneba.
Ghana University students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, February 2011.

There are eight national public universities in Ghana, the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, University of Education, University for Development Studies, University of Mines and Technology, University Of Energy And Natural Resources and University of Health and Allied Sciences.[143] Ghana also has a growing number of accredited private universities including Ghana Telecom University College, Ashesi University College, Methodist University College Ghana, Central University College, Regent University College of Science and Technology and Valley View University.[144]

Main entrance to the University of Ghana's Balme Library in Accra.

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. Many top universities from all over the world, including, Harvard University, Cornell University and Oxford University. Have special study abroad programs with Ghanaian schools and provided their students the opportunity to study abroad at Ghanaian universities. New York University has a campus in Accra.[145]

The University of Ghana has seen a shift of its traditionally best students to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.[146] 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.[146]

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.[139]

Enrollment

Ratio of females to males in education system.
Females and males out of education system.

With over 95% of its children in school, Ghana currently has one of the highest school enrolment rates in all of Africa.[138][147] The ratio of females to males in the total education system was 96.38%, in 2011.[148]

Science and technology

Innovations and HOPE City

HOPE City is a technology park to be built and based in Ghana.[149] HOPE City is being undertaken by Ghanaian information and communications technology company Rlg Communications.[150] HOPE City is an acronym for Home, Office, People and Environment.[150] The HOPE City project is expected to be completed in 2016 and is estimated to cost $US 10 billion in construction;[150] and one of its towers will become Africa's tallest building.[150] HOPE City will host a cluster of buildings and telecommunications facilities to serve as an Information and Communications Technology Park.[149][150]

Space programs and Space CanSat

The Ghana Space Science and Technology Centre (GSSTC) and Ghana Space Agency (GhsA) oversees the space exploration and space programs of Ghana and GSSTC and GhsA officials are to have a national security observational satellite launched into orbit in 2015.[151][152] The CanSat satellite technology and space program is spearheaded by the All Nations University (ANU) in Koforidua and CanSat as envisioned can be used e.g. in predicting weather and monitoring natural resources, and national security.[152] The CanSat Space Satellite is to be launched into orbit in 2015.[152]

Ghana's annual space exploration expenditure has been 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) for support research in science and technology and in 2012 Ghana was elected to chair the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (Comsats) and Ghana has a joint effort in space exploration with South Africa's South African National Space Agency (SANSA).[151]

National symbols

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.[153] It also has the legend Freedom and Justice.[153]

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.[153][154]

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