The Republic of Ghana is a country in West Africa. It borders Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

Background History

Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry Rawlings took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, Rawlings won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996 but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John Kufuor succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. John Atta MILLS won the 2008 presidential election and took over as head of state, but he died in July 2012 and was constitutionally succeeded by his vice president John Dramani Mahama, who subsequently won the December 2012 presidential election.


Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of Ghana
  • conventional short form: Ghana
  • former: Gold Coast


  • name: Accra
  • geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W
  • time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 6 March 1957 (from the UK)

Government Type:

  • constitutional democracy

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President John Dramani Mahama (since 24 July 2012); Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah- Arthur (since 6 August 2012)
  • head of government: President John Dramani Mahama (since 24 July 2012); Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur (since 6 August 2012)
  • cabinet: Council of Ministers; president nominates members subject to approval by Parliament
  • elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 7 December 2012, extended to 8 December because of technical difficulties (next to be held in December 2016)

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: unicameral Parliament

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Supreme Court; High Court; Court of Appeal; regional tribunals


People & Society


  • 25,758,108 (global rank: 49)
  • growth rate: 2.19% (global rank: 44)


  • noun: Ghanaian(s)
  • adjective: Ghanaian

Major Cities:

  • Accra (capital) 2.573 million; Kumasi 2.019 million

Ethnic Groups:

  • Akan 47.5%, Mole-Dagbon 16.6%, Ewe 13.9%, Ga-Dangme 7.4%, Gurma 5.7%, Guan 3.7%, Grusi 2.5%, Mande-Busanga 1.1%, other 1.6%


  • Christian 71.2% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 28.3%, Protestant 18.4%, Catholic 13.1%, other 11.4%), Muslim 17.6%, traditional 5.2%, other 0.8%, none 5.2%


  • Asante 14.8%, Ewe 12.7%, Fante 9.9%, Boron (Brong) 4.6%, Dagomba 4.3%, Dangme 4.3%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.7%, Akyem 3.4%, Ga 3.4%, Akuapem 2.9%, other (includes English (official)) 36.1%

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 65.75 years (global rank: 172)
  • male: 63.38 years
  • female: 68.19 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 38.52 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 58)
  • male: 42.58 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 34.34 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 1.4% (2012 est.) (global rank: 33)
  • people living with AIDS: 235,800 (2012 est.) (global rank: 25)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 71.5%
  • male: 78.3%
  • female: 65.3%



Overview: Ghana's economy has been strengthened by a quarter century of relatively sound management, a competitive business environment, and sustained reductions in poverty levels. In late 2010, Ghana was recategorized as a lower middle-income country. Ghana is well-endowed with natural resources and agriculture accounts for roughly one-quarter of GDP and employs more than half of the workforce, mainly small landholders. The services sector accounts for 50% of GDP. Gold and cocoa production and individual remittances are major sources of foreign exchange. Oil production at Ghana's offshore Jubilee field began in mid-December 2010,and is producing close to target levels. Additional oil projects are being developed and are expected to come on line in a few years. Estimated oil reserves have jumped to almost 700 million barrels and Ghana’s growing oil industry is expected to boost economic growth as the country faces the consequences of two years of loose fiscal policy, high budget and current account deficits, and a depreciating currency. President Mahama faces challenges in managing a population that is unhappy with living standards and that perceives they are not reaping the benefits of oil production because of political corruption.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $90.41 billion (global rank: 78)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $3,500 (global rank: 173)
  • real growth rate: 7.9% (global rank: 13)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 21.5%, industry: 28.7%, services: 49.8%


  • currency: Cedi (GHC)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 2.018


  • population below poverty line: 28.5%
  • unemployment rate: 11%

Agricultural Products:

  • cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber


  • mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building, petroleum

Exports Commodities:

  • oil, gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticultural products

    Imports Commodities:

    • capital equipment, refined petroleum, foodstuffs




    • Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Côte d'Ivoire and Togo


    • total: 238,533 sq km (global rank: 82)
    • land: 227,533 sq km
    • water: 11,000 sq km
    • comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon


    • tropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north

    Land Use:

    • arable land: 20.12%
    • permanent crops: 11.74%
    • other: 68.14%

    Natural Resources:

    • gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone

    Current Environmental Issues:

    • recurrent drought in north severely affects agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water


    Transnational Issues

    • international disputes: disputed maritime border between Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire
    • refugees (country of origin): 9,567 (Côte d'Ivoire; flight from 2010 post-election fighting); 5,249 (Liberia)
    • illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; major transit hub for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin and, to a lesser extent, South American cocaine destined for Europe and the US; widespread crime and money laundering problem, but the lack of a well-developed financial infrastructure limits the country's utility as a money laundering center; significant domestic cocaine and cannabis use

    Published: Friday, March 13, 2015

    The Republic of Ghana is a country in West Africa. It borders Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.