Skip to Content
 
 
 
Find:
Advanced Search

GHANA OVERVIEW

GHANA OVERVIEW

/files/Images/Country Flags and Maps/Ghana Overview.gif

(Download this overview as a PDF)

 

BASIC STATISTICS

  • Total population: 19,894,014 (Ranked 50th in the world by the US Census Bureau).

National GDP: US $33.6 billion (1998). GDP per capita: US $1,800. Median Age: 19. Infant Mortality: 74.77 per 1,000 live births.

 

GEOGRAPHY

  • Location: Southern coast of West Africa.

Borders: Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Togo. Area: 92,100 square miles. Capital: Accra. Major cities and population: Accra, 1,976,000. Topography: Low fertile plain divided by various rivers and the man-made Lake Volta.

 

DEMOGRAPHY

  • Population density: 212 per square mile.

Children 0-14: 41.2%—8,192,103. Teenage 10-19: 24.4%—4,854,667. Youth between 15-24: 11%—2,187,123. Seniors Over 70: 2%–405,861. Male to female ratio: 99.2 males per 100 females. Birth rate: 29.81 per 1,000 people. Life expectancy at birth: 55.38 for males and 59.62 for females. Infant mortality rate: 74.77 per 1,000 live births. Official language: English. Principal languages: Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe and Ga. Ethnic groups: Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13% and Ga 8%. Religious affiliations: Indigenous beliefs 38%, Muslim 30% and Christian 24%. Religious group representation: 55.4% Christian (11,195,095), 24.4% Ethno-religionist (4,937,270), 19.7% Muslim (3,974,212). Less than 1% Nonreligious, New-Religionist, Baha’i, Hindu, Atheist, Chinese folk-religionist, Buddhist, and other. Education: Compulsory 6-16. Literacy rate: 64%.

 

ECONOMY

  • Currency: Cedi.

GDP per capita: US $1,800. National GDP: US $33.6 billion (1998). Major Industries: Aluminum, light manufacturing, mining, lumbering, food processing. Chief crops: Cocoa, coffee, rice, cassava, peanuts, corn. Electricity production: 6.206 bil kWh (1998). TV Sets: 15 per 1000 people. Radios: 249 per 1000 people. Telephones: 158,600 main lines. Daily newspaper circulation: 64 per 1000 people.

 

POLITICS

  • Government type: Republic.

Head of state and government: President Jerry Rawlings. International organization memberships: United Nations (UN), the Commonwealth, and Organization of African Unity (OAU). Historical Background: During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Dogomba and Mamprussi kingdoms thrived in what is now the northern part of Ghana and the Akan-speaking peoples established themselves in the areas below the forest line. By the 15th century, these communities developed substantial trade with other sub-Saharan peoples. By 1482, the Portuguese established a trading post in the area, deeming it the Gold Coast because its gold resources. By 1642, the Dutch took control from the Portuguese and the wealth that European trade brought to the Ashanti peoples served as a catalyst to its developing empire which dominated until the mid-18th century. The British built forts at Kormantine and Cape Coast, and though they lost to the Portuguese in a war over the territory, they continued to develop parts of the area with momentum from the evolving slave trade. By the end of the 18th century, the British dominated the region. In 1874, the local tribal chieftains of the area were conquered by the British and remained under British rule until after World War II. In July of 1960, Ghana was declared a Republic within the Commonwealth. The later half of the 20th century was characterized by civil uncertainty, as governmental control fluctuated between military and civilian regimes. Leadership changed in 1966, 1969, 1972, 1979, and 1981. In April 1992, a new constitution was approved by the vote of the people.

 

TRENDS AND SOCIAL ISSUES

Understanding the trends and social issues of a particular country should always take into consideration the opinions of persons within the country. The Center for Youth Studies is looking for contributors from each country to add to our appreciation and understanding of its culture, potential, trends and critical issues. If you have insight as to what is important to Ghanaians, please contact us.

We look forward to hearing the insights of native Ghanaians on what they consider the most important issues facing them. From an outsiders perspective current issues would include the AIDS epidemic, the drug trade in Ghana, economic development, and the governmental leadership. What are the most important issues for Ghana today? This will be added as we receive this information.

 

SOURCES

TEXT

 

Barrett, D., Kurian, G., & Johnson, T. (2001). World Christian Encyclopedia 2nd Edition: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World. Oxford: University Press.

 

Turner, B. (2000). The World Today: Essential Facts in an Ever Changing World 2000. New York, NY: St. Marten’s Press.

 

McGeveran, Jr., W. (Ed.). (2001). The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Mahwah, NJ: World Almanac Books.

WEB

"Ghana," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001 ©

 1997-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

US Census Bureau, International Database.

United Nation Statistics Division.

US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.

 

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

  1. How important do you see Ghana’s role in Africa and in the world?
  2. What most impresses you about the above information?
  3. Do you take issue with any of the above? If so, how would you express it differently?
  4. What strikes you most about the population of Ghana and the birthrate? Why?
  5. What do you see as the historical and cultural contributions of Ghana to the world?
  6. How has Ghana handled its part in Aides crisis?
  7. What can we learn from Ghana and the Ghanaian people?
Tammy Smith cCYS


 

GHANA RESOURCES

 

ORGANIZATIONS

Ghana Discussion Forum

Ghana Government

Ghana Review International


An online periodical review on current news in Ghana.

Ghana Web


A comprehensive resource with articles and links and classifieds and more on Ghana.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Amamoo, J.G. (2000) The New Ghana: The Birth of a Nation. Authors Choice Press, 164pp.

 

Gifford, Paul. (2004) Ghana's New Christianity: Pentacostalism In a Globalising African Economy. Indiana University Press, 216pp.

 

Mikell, Gwendolyn. (1991) Cocoa and Chaos in Ghana. Howard University Press, 284pp.

cCYS