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. 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. Ghana is one of the leading exporters of cocoa in the world. It is also a significant exporter of commodities such as gold and lumber. 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.
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 bymilitary 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.
Ghana has several tourist attractions such as the castles. 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 five cellular phone operators and several internet service providers.
238,538 sq. km. (92,100 sq. mi.); about the size of Illinois and Indiana combined
Capital--Accra (metropolitan area pop. 3 million est.).
Other cities--Kumasi (1 million est.), Tema (500,000 est.), Sekondi-Takoradi (370,000 est.)
Plains and scrubland, rainforest, savanna
Population (2011 est.)
88/sq. km. (247/sq. mi.)
Population growth rate (2011 est.)
Akan 45.3%, Mole Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, other groups 20.4%
Christian 68.8%, Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1%
English (official), Akan (which includes Asante Twi, Akwapim Twi, Akyem, and Fanti) 49%, Mole-Dagbani 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga-Adangbe 8%, Guan 4%, others 10%
Years compulsory--9. Literacy--57.9%
Infant mortality rate (2011 est.)--48.55/1,000. Life expectancy--62.3 yrs. for women, 59.8 yrs. for men
Work force (11.1 million)
Agriculture and fishing--47.9%; industry and transport--16.2%; sales and clerical--19.3%; services--5.9%; professional--8.9%; other--1.8%
March 6, 1957
Entered into force January 7, 1993
Executive--president popularly elected for a maximum of two 4-year terms; Council of State, a presidential appointed consultative body of 25 members required by the constitution. Legislative--unicameral Parliament popularly elected for 4-year terms. Judicial--independent Supreme Court justices nominated by president with approval of Parliament
New Patriotic Party, National Democratic Congress, Convention People's Party, People's National Convention, others
Universal at 18