Ghana at a Glance

Ghana, a country on the West Coast of Africa, is one of the most thriving democracies on the continent. It has often been referred to as an "island of peace" in one of the most chaotic regions on earth. It shares boundaries with Togo to the east, la Cote d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea, to the south. 

The Country on the Gold Coast

A country covering an area of 238,500 square kilometres, Ghana has an estimated population of 22 million, drawn from more than one hundred ethnic groups - each with its own unique language. English, however, is the official language, a legacy of British colonial rule.

History: from Colonial times to Independence

In 1957, Ghana (formerly known as the Gold Coast) became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. After leading the country for nine years, the nation's founding president, Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup d'etat in 1966. After Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana was ruled by a series of military despots with intermittent experiments with democratic rule, most of which were curtailed by military takeovers. The latest and most enduring democratic experiment started in 1992 and it is what has gained recognition for Ghana as a leading democracy in Africa.

Politics: Democracy in Africa

Ghana practices a multiparty parliamentary democracy based on a constitution. This Fourth Republican Constitution, which came into force in 1992, provides for a unitary state governed by a President (and Cabinet) and a Unicameral National Assembly. It entrenches the separation of powers and offers appropriate checks and balances. The presidency has a four-year term and an incumbent can serve for a maximum of two terms. The Supreme Court is at the apex of Ghana’s judiciary headed by the Chief Justice. The legal system is based on the English Common Law, where the courts are bound to develop the notions of fairness to the individual. The constitution also makes provision for continued recognition of traditional chiefs and customary law. Local Government: A decentralised central government administration has been fostered at local government level where there are 10 Regional Co-ordinating Councils, 170 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies which serve to involve grassroots participation in the formulation and implementation of government policies and the general development of their areas of jurisdiction.

Cohabitation of various religions

Ghana’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The 2002 Population Census indicates that Christianity, Islam and Traditional Religion are the major faiths practiced in Ghana with the following representation: Christianity (68.8%), Islam (15.9%) and traditional religion (8.5%). A significant proportion (6.1%) has no religious affiliation.

Economy

A recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea could make Ghana an important oil producer and exporter in the next few years. The country's economy is dominated by agriculture, which employs about 40 percent of the working population. Rich mineral resources next to gold, such as diamonds, manganese, limestone, bauxite, iron ore as well as various clays and granite deposits can be found in the country. Ghana is the second largest producer of gold in Africa and has extensive forests (11% of Ghana is defined as forest), which are arguably the best managed in West Africa. Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. It is also the third largest producer of timber and the second largest exporter of wood and wood products in Africa.

Tourism: pristine beaches in unspoilt nature 

Ghana has several tourist attractions. Most of the major international airlines fly into and from the international airport in Accra. Domestic air travel is thriving and the country has a vibrant telecommunications sector, with a number of cellular phone operators and several internet service providers.

Investing in Ghana

Ghana's government has intensified its efforts to promote private sector development in the last few years. Under the slogan of "Creating a Golden Age of Business", the government aims at stimulating foreign investment into Ghana as well as promoting the development of local businesses.

There are several governmental institutions, supporting local business as well as foreign investors, amongst them is also The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), a government agency, re-established under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 1994 (Act 478) is encouraging, promoting and facilitating investments in all sectors of the economy except mining and petroleum. They are the one-stop agency that facilitates and supports local and foreign investors in both the manufacturing and services sectors as they seek more value-creating operations, higher sustainable returns and new business opportunities.

Complementing these endeavours is the government's commitment to the process of regional integration in the framework of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).

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