Population: 17,350,000 (1995)
Area: 239,460 Km²
Currency: 1 cedi = 100 pesewas
Time Zone: GMT+0h00
ISO Code: GH
Dialing Code: +233
Ghana is an independent republic with a democratic government which lies on the Gulf of Guinea and forms part of the West African Region. The capital city is Accra. Other major towns are Kumasi and Tamale and the ports of Cape Coast, Tema and Takoradi.
The official language is English while over 100 native languages are spoken. The local currency is the cedi. (US$ / Cedi – current exchange rate).
Ghana has a mixed economy although this is changing with its programme of privatisation of state-owned enterprises and government divestiture of parastatals. Although Ghana experienced an energy crisis in 1998 due to drought, they have managed to continue with this economic programme and have announced plans to privatise the energy sector.
One project which may expand Ghana’s energy sources is the West African Gas Pipeline which would transport natural gas to Ghana, Togo and Benin from Nigeria. Ghana has an active stock exchange.
The mining industry in Ghana is the key sector in the economy of the country with the principal minerals produced being gold and diamonds. The oil industry is also a key sub-sector in the economy of the country. The Tema Refinery on the coast near Accra provides most of the petroleum products required by the local market.
The Ghana National Petroleum Company is responsible for managing the production and supply of fuel products to the country. The downstream oil industry is also well-developed with 5 international oil companies present in the country.
In addition to its oil industry, Ghana has an active chemicals industry, as well as being one of the larger markets in the lubricants industry of the West African region.
Ghana also exports timber and pineapples, the most important export crop being cocoa. The earnings from the export of cocoa beans is managed by the Ghana Cocoa Board. Although Ghana’s economy is based mainly on subsistence agriculture, the industrial sector does play a part by producing goods from locally produced primary goods.
Although Ghana faced food shortages in the past, these were significantly reduced by the late 1990s. Ghana’s economy faces a number of challenges, the main focus of these being the country’s high population growth and high illiteracy rates.
Ghana’s major trading partners include Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan and the United States, along with neighbouring Nigeria. Ghana relies on grants from some of these countries to fund areas of development.
The international time zone for Ghana is GMT. The international dialling code for Ghana is +233. Air Ghana is the national carrier which operates regional and intercontinental services. 10 other airlines fly to Ghana which has an international airport at Kotoka, 10 km from Accra. Non-ECOWAS citizens must obtain visas prior to entry.
Malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis A, meningitis, typhoid fever and schistosomiasis may be contracted while travelling in Ghana. The risk of contraction is based on a number of factors including location, individual’s state of health, current immunisation status, and the local disease situation.
The main export commodities in Ghana include cocoa beans and products, copra, cut flowers, cut diamonds, food ingredients, fruit, gold, manganese, timber and tea and coffee, while the main imports include fuel, intermediate goods, machinery, petroleum products, tobaccos, chemical products, consumer goods and crude oil.
Exchange controls are liberalised and several private forex bureaux operate in Ghana, while the Bank of Ghana Exchange Control Department administers the allocation of exchange for payments for invisibles and capital.
No known specific government regulations or requirements governing countertrade and there are no import licensing requirements and all imports, except for those prohibited for non-trade reasons, are allowed. A free trade zone has been opened in Ghana’s main port, Tema.