Ghana [Country Flag of Ghana]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Ghana]



[Top of Page]

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

Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 2 00 W

Map references: Africa

total: 238,540 sq km
land: 230,020 sq km
water: 8,520 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon

Land boundaries:
total: 2,093 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 548 km, Cote d'Ivoire 668 km, Togo 877 km

Coastline: 539 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 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 extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Afadjato 880 m

Natural resources: gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber

Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 7%
permanent pastures: 22%
forests and woodland: 35%
other: 24% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 60 sq km (1993 est.)

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

Environment—current issues: recent drought in north severely affecting 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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography—note: Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake; northeasterly harmattan wind (January to March)


[Top of Page]

Population: 18,497,206 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 3,985,219; female 3,947,640)
15-64 years: 54% (male 4,905,442; female 5,077,521)
65 years and over: 3% (male 275,192; female 306,192) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.13% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 32.81 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.63 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 77.53 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 56.82 years
male: 54.77 years
female: 58.92 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.27 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Ghanaian(s)
adjective: Ghanaian

Ethnic groups: black African 99.8% (major tribes—Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%), European and other 0.2%

Religions: indigenous beliefs 38%, Muslim 30%, Christian 24%, other 8%

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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 64.5%
male: 75.9%
female: 53.5% (1995 est.)


[Top of Page]

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

Data code: GH

Government type: constitutional democracy

National capital: Accra

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

Independence: 6 March 1957 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 6 March (1957)

Constitution: new constitution approved 28 April 1992

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jerry John RAWLINGS (since 7 January 1993); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jerry John RAWLINGS (since 7 January 1993); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers; president nominates members subject to approval by the Parliament
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 7 December 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: Jerry John RAWLINGS elected president; percent of vote—RAWLINGS 57%

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (200 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 1996 (next to be held NA December 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—NDC 133, NPP 61, PCP 5, PNC 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Congress or NDC [Dr. Huudu YAHAYA, general secretary]; New Patriotic Party or NPP [Peter Ala ADJETY]; People's Heritage Party or PHP [Emmanuel Alexander ERSKINE]; National Convention Party or NCP [Sarpong KUMA-KUMA]; Every Ghanian Living Everywhere or EGLE [Owuraku AMOFA, chairman]; Peoples Convention Party or PCP [P. K. DONKOH-AYIFI, acting chairman]; Peoples National Convention or PNC [Edward MAHAMA]

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNPREDEP, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Edward BRYNN
embassy: Ring Road East, East of Danquah Circle, Accra
mailing address: P. O. Box 194, Accra
telephone: [233] (21) 775348
FAX: [233] (21) 776008

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


[Top of Page]

Economy—overview: Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has 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 41% of GDP and employs 60% of the work force, mainly small landholders. In 1995-97, Ghana made mixed progress under a three-year structural adjustment program in cooperation with the IMF. On the minus side, public sector wage increases and regional peacekeeping commitments have led to continued inflationary deficit financing, depreciation of the cedi, and rising public discontent with Ghana's austerity measures.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$36.2 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 41%
industry: 14%
services: 45% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 27.7% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: NA
by occupation: agriculture and fishing 61%, industry 10%, services 29% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate: 20% (1997 est.)

revenues: $1.39 billion
expenditures: $1.47 billion, including capital expenditures of $370 million (1996 est.)

Industries: mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing

Industrial production growth rate: 4.2% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 1.3 million kW (1997)

Electricity—production: 600 million kWh (1996)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 373 kWh (1996)

Agriculture—products: cocoa, rice, coffee, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber

total value: $1.57 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: gold 39%, cocoa 35%, timber 9.4%, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, and diamonds (1996 est.)
partners: UK, Germany, US, Netherlands, Japan, Nigeria

total value: $1.84 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
commodities: capital equipment, petroleum, consumer goods, foods, intermediate goods
partners: UK, Nigeria, US, Germany, Japan, Netherlands

Debt—external: $5.2 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $472 million (1993)

Currency: 1 new cedi (C) = 100 pesewas

Exchange rates: new cedis per US$1—2,271.70 (January 1998), 2,050.17 (1997), 1,637.23 (1996), 1,200.43 (1995), 956.71 (1994), 649.06 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


[Top of Page]

Telephones: 100,000 (1997 est.)

Telephone system: poor to fair system
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 23, shortwave 0 (1997)

Radios: 12.5 million (1997 est.)

Television broadcast stations: broadcast stations 3 (8 repeaters); pay per view (cable/satellite) 1 (1997)

Televisions: 1.9 million (1997 est.)


[Top of Page]

total: 953 km (undergoing major rehabilitation)
narrow gauge: 953 km 1.067-m gauge (32 km double track) (1997 est.)

total: 39,409 km
paved: 11,653 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 27,756 km (1997 est.)

Waterways: Volta, Ankobra, and Tano Rivers provide 168 km of perennial navigation for launches and lighters; Lake Volta provides 1,125 km of arterial and feeder waterways

Pipelines: 0 km

Ports and harbors: Takoradi, Tema

Merchant marine:
total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 17,037 GRT/22,747 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, oil tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2 (1997 est.)

Airports: 12 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)


[Top of Page]

Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police Force, Palace Guard, Civil Defense

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 4,386,728 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 2,434,732 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 181,169 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $30 million (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 0.8% (1994)

Transnational Issues

[Top of Page]

Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; transit hub for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin and South American cocaine destined for Europe and the US