OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Ghana
CAPITAL: Accra
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 238,537 Sq Km (92,100 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 18,789,900


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & 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 60.4% (1990).


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 Defense Council.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the Cedi (C) divided into 100 Pesewas.


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 Ore, Timber.


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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