OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Ghana
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 238,537 Sq Km (92,100 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 18,789,900
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Ghana is located on the Gulf of
Guinea along the west coast of Africa. It is bound by the
Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo
to the east and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The country
has a coastline typified by sand bars and lagoons while
the southern part of the country consists of low lying plains
that are covered in scrub savannah, including the Accra
Plains, the Volta Delta and the Akan Lowlands. To the north
lies the Ashanti Highlands, the arid Volta Basin and the
forest covered Akwapim-Togo Ranges. The entire country is
networked with streams and rivers which includes the Volta
River with its tributaries as well as the smaller Pra, Ankobra
and Tano Rivers. Major Cities (pop. est.); Accra 949,00,
Kumasi 385,000, Tamale 151,000, Tema 110,000 (1988). Land
Use; forested 35%, pastures 22%, agricultural-cultivated
19%, other 24% (1993).
CLIMATE: Ghana has a tropical climate that varies from a warm
dry coastal belt in the southeast and a hot humid southwest corner to a
hot dry northern savannah. In the north there are two seasons, a dry season
from November to April and a wet season from May to October, while the
south has four seasons, two wet seasons from May to June and September
to November as well as two dry seasons from July to August and December
to April. There are considerable variations in annual precipitation and
it decreases gradually northward. Average temperature ranges in Accra are
from 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) to 31 degrees Celsius (81
degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: There are over 100 ethnic groups and the major tribal
groups include the Akan who account for around 52% of the population and
are predominant in the south and west of the country. The Mossi who account
for 16% of the population are located in the north while the Ewe account
for 12% and are also predominant in the south, the Ga account for 8% and
are predominant in the Accra region and the coastal areas. Ethnic aliens
include Indians, Lebanese, British and African Americans.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 65 persons per sq km (168
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 33.0% urban, 67.0% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 49.6% male, 50.3% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
52.2 years male, 55.8 years female (1985-90). Age Breakdown; 45% under
15, 26% 15 to 29, 15% 30 to 44, 8% 45 to 59, 4% 60 to 74, 2% 75 and over
(1984). Birth Rate; 44.4 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 13.1 per 1,000 (1990).
Increase Rate; 31.3 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 90.0 per 1,000
live births (1990).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians which account for 63% of the population,
of which Protestants account for 28% and Roman Catholics for 19%. Around
21% of the population follow local native tribal beliefs and 16% are Muslims.
LANGUAGES: The official language is English, although no one
language is used or understood by the majority of Ghanans. The most important
indigenous languages are Twi-Fante, Ga, Ewe in the south as well as Dagbane,
Grusi and Gurma in the north.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
60.4%, primary 7.1%, lower secondary 25.4%, upper secondary 3.5%, higher
3.5% (1984). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 4,960,000 or
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: On Mar. 6, 1957 the Gold Coast
gained its independence as Ghana when it merged with the former British
Togoland. In 1960 the people of Ghana voted to become a republic and elected
Dr Kwame Nkrumah as Executive President. In 1964 Pres. Nkrumah declared
Ghana a single party socialist state and in Feb. 1966 when Nkrumah was
visiting China, the military overthrew the government, suspended the constitution
and installed a transitional government in preparation for a return to
civilian rule. In Oct. 1969 Dr Kofi Busia was elected Prime Minister and
in Jan. 1971 the military led by Lt.Col. Ignatius Acheampong seized power.
In 1975 Acheampong dismissed three of his colleagues and established the
Supreme Military Council (SMC). In June 1977 the Bar and Medical associations
went on strike and forced Acheampong to give a general election timetable.
In 1978 he was forced to resign by other military leaders and was replaced
by Lt.Gen. Fredrick Akuffo. In May 1979 another military coup led by Flight
Lt. Jerry Rawlings seized power but was eventually unsuccessful. In June
1979 Dr Hilla Limann formed a civilian government only to by ousted by
Rawlings in Dec. 1981. Rawlings suspended the constitution, banned political
parties and dissolved the Parliament. Further military coups were unsuccessfully
attempted in Mar. and Nov. 1982 as well as June 1983. In Mar. 1986 plans
of another military coup led by American mercenaries and Ghanan exiles
were discovered and five officers were subsequently arrested. In 1990 there
were growing pressures for a return to a multiparty democracy and Rawlings
announced he would not stand in the way if Ghanans wanted a return to a
multiparty democracy. During 1991 the Movement for Freedom and Justice
demanded the lifting of a ban on opposition parties and a timetable for
elections. In May 1991 students throughout Ghana demonstrated against the
Consultative Assembly insisting that it overwhelmingly contained pro-government
supporters. On June 7, 1991 the government appointed a group of experts
to put forward proposals to the National Commission of Democracy on a draft
constitution. On March 6, 1992 Rawlings proposed that Ghana be returned
to civilian rule on Jan. 7, 1993 with the draft constitution being approved
in a referendum held in April, 1992. On May 17, 1992 the ban on political
parties was lifted and by the end August Rawlings announced his intention
to stand as a candidate for the Presidential elections. In Nov. 1992 Rawlings
won the President elections with 58% of the vote. On Jan. 7, 1993 the Fourth
Republic of Ghana was inaugurated with Rawlings as President with his National
Democratic Congress holding the overwhelmingly majority of seats in the
Parliament. On Mar. 22, 1993 the new Cabinet was sworn in with 21 of the
35 nominees having previously served the former executive body, the National
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Cedi (C) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $6,992,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $3,542,500,000 (1994). Imports; USD $1,579,900,000 (1994). Exports;
USD $1,226,800,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $167,000,000 (1992). Balance
of Trade; USD $ -353,100,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 5,580,104
or 45.4% of total population (1984). Unemployed; 2.8% (1984).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
the UK, Germany and Nigeria.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Bauxite, Cassava, Cocoa, Diamonds,
Gold, Maize, Manganese, Sorghum, Taro, Timber, Yams.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Bauxite Refining, Cement, Fishing,
Food Processing, Forestry, Mining, Oil Refining, Steel, Vehicle Assembly.
MAIN EXPORTS: Bauxite and Alumina, Cocoa, Diamonds, Gold, Manganese
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 953 km (592 mi) (1989), passenger-km
330,000,000 (205,052,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 141,510,000
(96,920,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 28,300 km (19,383 mi) (1985).
Vehicles; cars 60,000 (1986), trucks and buses 46,000 (1986). Merchant
Marine; vessels 146 (1990), deadweight tonnage 109,886 (1990). Air Transport;
passenger-km 407,600,000 (253,271,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km
66,798,000 (45,750,000 short ton-mi) (1990).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 4 with a total circulation
of 1,060,000 (1993). Radio; receivers 4,300,000 (1994). Television; receivers
250,000 (1994). Telephones; units 48,700 (1993).
MILITARY: 7,000 (1995) total active duty personnel with 71.4%
army, 14.3% navy and 14.3% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 0.7% (1992) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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