Facts


Population: 28,21 million (2016)
Area: 238 535 km²
Capital City: Accra


About Ghana
Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Ghana 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. Ghana means “Warrior King” in the Soninke language. The first permanent state in the territory of present-day Ghana dates back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti. Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana’s current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. It became independent of the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957. Ghana is a democratic country led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system have made it a regional power in West Africa. It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Group of 24 (G24) and the Commonwealth of Nations.


Currency

The Ghanaian Cedi is the currency of Ghana. The currency code for Cedis is GHS, and the currency symbol is GH¢.

Climate


The climate of Ghana is tropical. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the south-west corner of Ghana is hot and humid, and the north of Ghana is hot and dry. Ghana is located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, giving it a warm climate.


Language

There are eleven languages that have the status of government-sponsored languages. English is the language of the state and widely used as a lingua franca. Since Ghana is surrounded by French-speaking countries, French is widely taught in schools and universities, as well as a language used for commercial and international economic exchanges.


Economy

Ghana is an average natural resource enriched country possessing industrial minerals, hydrocarbons and precious metals. It is an emerging designated digital economy with mixed economy hybridisation and an emerging market with 8.7% GDP growth in 2012. It has an economic plan target known as the “Ghana Vision 2020”. This plan envisions Ghana as the first African country to become a developed country between 2020 and 2029 and a newly industrialised country between 2030 and 2039.] This excludes fellow Group of 24 member and Sub-Saharan African country South Africa, which is a newly industrialised country. Ghana’s economy also has ties to the Chinese yuan renminbi along with Ghana’s vast gold reserves. In 2013, the Bank of Ghana 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. The state-owned Volta River Authority and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation are the two major electricity producers. The Akosombo Dam, built on the Volta River in 1965, along with Bui Dam, Kpong Dam, and several other hydroelectric dams provide hydropower. In addition, the Government of Ghana has sought to build the second nuclear power plant in Africa.
The Ghana Stock Exchange is the 5th largest on continental Africa and 3rd largest in sub-saharan Africa with a market capitalisation of GH¢ 57.2 billion or CN¥ 180.4 billion in 2012 with the South Africa JSE Limited as first. The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) was the 2nd best performing stock exchange in sub-saharan Africa in 2013.
Ghana also produces high-quality cocoa, is the 2nd largest producer of cocoa globally, and is projected to become the world’s largest producer of cocoa in 2015.
Ghana is classified as a middle income country. Services account for 50% of GDP, followed by manufacturing (24.1%), extractive industries (5%), and taxes (20.9%).

Education

Ghanaian education system is divided in three parts: “Basic Education”, secondary cycle and tertiary education. “Basic Education” lasts 11 years (ages 4‒15). It is divided into Kindergarten (2 years), Primary School (2 module of 3 years) and Junior High (3 years). Junior High School (JHS) ends with the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Once the BECE achieved, the pupil can pursue into secondary cycle. Hence, the pupil has the choice between general education (assumed by Senior High School) and vocational education (assumed by technical Senior High School, Technical and Vocational Institutes, completed by a massive private and informal offer). Senior High School lasts three years and ends on the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). The WASSCE is needed to join a university bachelor’s degree programme Polytechnics are opened to vocational students, from SHS or from TVI.
A Bachelor’s degree usually lasts 4 years, can be followed by a 1- or 2-year master’s degree, which can be concluded in 3 years by a Ph.D. A polytechnic lasts 2 or 3 years. Ghana also possesses numerous colleges of education. The Ghanaian education system from Kindergarten up to an undergraduate degree level takes 20 years.
The academic year usually goes from August to May inclusive. The school year in primary education lasts 40 weeks in Primary School and SHS, and 45 weeks in JHS.


Government

Ghana is a unitary presidential constitutional democracy with a parliamentary multi-party system. Ghana alternated between civilian and military governments until January 1993, when the military government gave way to the Fourth Republic of Ghana after presidential and parliamentary elections in late 1992. The 1992 constitution of Ghana divides powers among a Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (President of Ghana), parliament (Parliament of Ghana), cabinet (Cabinet of Ghana), council of state (Ghanaian Council of State), and an independent judiciary (Judiciary of Ghana). The Government of Ghana is elected by universal suffrage after every four years.
Nana Akufo-Addo won the Presidency in the Ghanaian general election held on December 7, 2016, defeating incumbent John Mahama. He was sworn in on January 7, 2017.
The 2012 Fragile States Index indicated that Ghana is ranked the 67th least fragile state in the world and the 5th least fragile state in Africa after Mauritius, 2nd Seychelles, 3rd Botswana, and 4th South Africa. Ghana ranked 112th out of 177 countries on the index. 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. 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. Nkrumah was a Ghanaian nationalist leader who led the country from 1957 to 1966. Nkrumah’s political journey started when he entered Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1935. He graduated with master’s degrees from Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania. He formed the Convention Peoples’ Party. The party initiated a “positive action” campaign involving non-violent protests, strikes and non-cooperation with the British authorities. Nkrumah was arrested and sentenced to one year imprisonment during this time. In the Gold Coast’s February 1951 general election, he was elected to Parliament and released from prison to become leader of government business. He became Prime Minister of the Gold Coast in 1952s leadership was authoritarian but he improved the infrastructure of the country and his Africanisation policies created better career opportunities for Ghanaians. He was deposed in a coup in 1966.

Health

Health in Ghana includes the healthcare systems on prevention, care and treatment of diseases and other maladies.
Health care is very variable through Ghana. Urban centres are well served, and contain most hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in the country. Rural areas often have no modern health care. Patients in these areas either rely on traditional African medicine, or travel great distances for health care. In 2005, Ghana spent 6.2% of GDP on health care, or US$30 per capita. Of that, approximately 34% was government expenditure.
In 2015, life expectancy at birth was 66.18 years with males at 63.76 years and females at 68.66 years. Infant mortality is at 37.37 per 1000 live births. The total fertility rate is 4.06 children per woman among the 15 million Ghanaian nationals. In 2010, there were about 15 physicians and 93 nurses per 100,000 persons.
In 2010, 5.2% of Ghana’s GDP was spent on health, and all Ghanaian citizens had access to primary health care. Ghanaian citizens make up 97.5% of Ghana’s population. Ghana’s universal health care system has been described as the most successful healthcare system on the African continent by the renowned business magnate and tycoon Bill Gates. According to the World Health Organization, the most common diseases in Ghana include those endemic to sub-Saharan African countries, particularly: cholera, typhoid, pulmonary tuberculosis, anthrax, pertussis, tetanus, chicken pox, yellow fever, measles, infectious hepatitis, trachoma, malaria, HIV and schistosomiasis. Though not as common, other regularly treated diseases include dracunculiasis, dysentery, river blindness or onchocerciasis, several kinds of pneumonia, dehydration, venereal diseases, and poliomyelitis.


Safety


Ghana is currently a very safe, stable country with relatively low crime levels compared to other West African countries. Take sensible precautions but be assured it is quite safe. Bywel’s bar in Osu is a frequent hangout of expats on Thursday nights meaning that it is target for muggings.

Transport

Transport and modes of transport in Ghana is accomplished by road transport (bus-based mass transit system), railway, air transport (civil aviation) and water transport (ferry).


Cuisine


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. Fish is important in the Ghanaian diet with tilapia, roasted and fried whitebait, smoked fish and crayfish all being common components of Ghanaian dishes.
Banku (Akple) is a common Ghanaian starchy food made from ground corn (maize), and cornmeal based staples, dokonu (kenkey) and banku (akple) 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). Banku and tilapia is a combo served in most Ghanaian restaurants. Fufu is the most common exported Ghanaian dish in that it is a delicacy across the African diaspora.

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