Ghana

Ghana

Overview
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

 (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

 to the north, Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

 to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

 to the south. The word Ghana means "Warrior King" and is derived from the ancient Ghana Empire
Ghana Empire
The Ghana Empire or Wagadou Empire was located in what is now southeastern Mauritania, and Western Mali. Complex societies had existed in the region since about 1500 BCE, and around Ghana's core region since about 300 CE...

.

Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan
Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...

 kingdoms, including the inland Ashanti Empire
Ashanti Empire
The Ashanti Empire , also Asanteman was a West Africa state of the Ashanti people, the Akan people of the Ashanti Region, now in Ghana. The Ashanti or Asante are a major ethnic group in Ghana, a powerful, militaristic and highly disciplined people of West Africa...

, the Akwamu
Akwamu
The Akwamu was a state set up by the Akan people in Ghana which existed in the 17th century and 18th century. Originally immigrating from Bono state, the founders settled in Twifo-Heman. The Akwamu created an expansionist empire in the 16th and 17th century...

, the Akyem
Akyem
The Akyem are an Akan people. The term Akyem is used to describe a group of three states: Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome. These nations are located primarily in the eastern regions of modern-day Ghana. The term is also used to describe the general area where the Akyem ethnic group...

, the Bonoman
Bonoman
Bonoman is a term used to describe the trading State created by the Abron people which culminated in bringing wealth to the Akan people.Bonoman was a Middle Ages Akan Empire in what is now Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana and Eastern Ivory Coast...

, the Denkyira
Denkyira
Denkyira was a powerful nation of Akan people that existed in southern present-day Ghana from 1620. Like all Akans they originated from Bono state. Before 1620 Denkyira was called Agona. The ruler of the Denkyira was called Denkyirahene and the capital was Jukwaa...

, and the Fante among others.
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Timeline

1957   Ghana joins the United Nations.

1957   U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, after he is refused service in a Dover, Delaware restaurant.

1960   Ghana becomes a Republic and Kwame Nkrumah becomes its first President as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom ceases to be its Head of state.

1972   Prime Minister Kofi Busia and President Edward Akufo-Addo of Ghana are ousted in a bloodless military coup by Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheamphong.

1979   Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings takes power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo is overthrown.

1981   A coup d'état in Ghana removes President Hilla Limann's PNP government and replaces it with the Provisional National Defence Council led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.

1997   Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan is appointed Secretary General of the United Nations.

2001   In Ghana 129 football fans die in what became known as the Accra Sports Stadium Disaster. The deaths are caused by a stampede (caused by the firing of teargas by police personnel at the stadium) that followed a controversial decision by the referee.

 
Encyclopedia
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

 (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

 to the north, Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

 to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

 to the south. The word Ghana means "Warrior King" and is derived from the ancient Ghana Empire
Ghana Empire
The Ghana Empire or Wagadou Empire was located in what is now southeastern Mauritania, and Western Mali. Complex societies had existed in the region since about 1500 BCE, and around Ghana's core region since about 300 CE...

.

Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan
Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...

 kingdoms, including the inland Ashanti Empire
Ashanti Empire
The Ashanti Empire , also Asanteman was a West Africa state of the Ashanti people, the Akan people of the Ashanti Region, now in Ghana. The Ashanti or Asante are a major ethnic group in Ghana, a powerful, militaristic and highly disciplined people of West Africa...

, the Akwamu
Akwamu
The Akwamu was a state set up by the Akan people in Ghana which existed in the 17th century and 18th century. Originally immigrating from Bono state, the founders settled in Twifo-Heman. The Akwamu created an expansionist empire in the 16th and 17th century...

, the Akyem
Akyem
The Akyem are an Akan people. The term Akyem is used to describe a group of three states: Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome. These nations are located primarily in the eastern regions of modern-day Ghana. The term is also used to describe the general area where the Akyem ethnic group...

, the Bonoman
Bonoman
Bonoman is a term used to describe the trading State created by the Abron people which culminated in bringing wealth to the Akan people.Bonoman was a Middle Ages Akan Empire in what is now Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana and Eastern Ivory Coast...

, the Denkyira
Denkyira
Denkyira was a powerful nation of Akan people that existed in southern present-day Ghana from 1620. Like all Akans they originated from Bono state. Before 1620 Denkyira was called Agona. The ruler of the Denkyira was called Denkyirahene and the capital was Jukwaa...

, and the Fante among others. Non-Akan states created by the Ga
Ga people
The Ga-Adangbe are an ethnic group in the West African nation of Ghana. It is part of the Dangme ethnic group. The Ga people are grouped as part of theGa–Dangme ethnolinguistic group. They speak Kwa languages...

 and Ewe
Ewe people
The Ewe are a people located in the southeast corner of Ghana, east of the Volta River, in an area now described as the Volta Region, in southern Togo and western Benin...

 also existed as did states by the Gonja
Gonja
This page discusses the Ghanaian kingdom of Gonja; for uses for the word Ganja, see Ganja Gonja was a kingdom in northern Ghana; the word can also refer to the people of this kingdom. The Gonja are a Guan people who have been influenced by both Akan people and Mande people. With the fall of the...

, Dagomba
Dagomba
The Dagomba are an ethnic group of Northern Ghana. They inhabit the sparse savanna region below the sahelian belt, known as the Sudan. They speak the Dagbani language which belongs to the More-Dagbani sub-group of Gur languages...

 and others. Prior to contact with Europeans trade between the Akan
Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...

 and various African states flourished due to Akan's gold wealth. Trade with European states began after contact with the Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 in the 15th century, and the British established the Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

 Crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 in 1874 over parts but not all of the country.

The Gold Coast achieved independence from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

n nation to do so, and the name Ghana was chosen for the new nation to reflect the ancient Empire of Ghana, which once extended throughout much of west Africa. Ghana is a member of the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone
South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone
The South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone was created in 1986 through a UN resolution on Brazil's initiative, with the aim of promoting regional cooperation and the maintenance of peace and security in the region...

, the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, the Economic Community of West African States
Economic Community of West African States
The Economic Community of West African States is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, its mission is to promote economic integration across the region....

, the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

, and an associate member of La Francophonie
La Francophonie
Francophonie is an international organization of politics and governments with French as the mother or customary language, where a significant proportion of people are francophones , or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.Formally known as the Organisation...

. Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world and is home to Lake Volta
Lake Volta
Lake Volta is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world, and the fourth largest one by water volume. It is located completely within the country of Ghana, and it has a surface area of about 8,502 km² . Lake Volta lies along the Greenwich Meridian, and just six degrees of latitude...

, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.
The economy of Ghana has been listed as The World's Fastest Growing Economy in 2011 with an economic growth of about 20.146 % for the year 2011 in economic research led by Economy Watch with data coming from the IMF's tracker of GDP Growth in constant prices in the national currency.

Etymology


The word Ghana means Warrior
Warrior
A warrior is a person skilled in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class.-Warrior classes in tribal culture:...

 King
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

 and was the title accorded to the kings of the medieval West African Ghana Empire
Ghana Empire
The Ghana Empire or Wagadou Empire was located in what is now southeastern Mauritania, and Western Mali. Complex societies had existed in the region since about 1500 BCE, and around Ghana's core region since about 300 CE...

. Geographically, the Ghana Empire was approximately 500 miles (804.7 km) north and west of modern Ghana, and it ruled territories in the area of the Sénégal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

 and east towards the Niger River
Niger River
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...

, in modern Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

, Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 and Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

.

Ghana was adopted as the legal name for the Gold Coast combined with British Togoland
British Togoland
British Togoland was a League of Nations Class B mandate in West Africa, under the mandatory power of the United Kingdom. It was effectively formed in 1916 by the splitting of the occupied German protectorate of Togoland into two territories, French Togoland and British Togoland, during the First...

 upon gaining autonomy on March 6, 1957.

History


There is archaeological evidence which shows that humans have lived in present-day Ghana since the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. But, before the 11th Century the majority of the state known as Ghana today was largely unoccupied. The area of Ghana today has experienced many population movements but, by the 16th Century the major Ethnic groups in Ghana today were firmly settled. By the Early 11th Century the Akan
Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...

 were firmly established in a state called Bonoman
Bonoman
Bonoman is a term used to describe the trading State created by the Abron people which culminated in bringing wealth to the Akan people.Bonoman was a Middle Ages Akan Empire in what is now Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana and Eastern Ivory Coast...

 for which the Brong-Ahafo Region
Brong-Ahafo Region
The Brong-Ahafo Region is located in mid-western Ghana, between the Ashanti Region and the Northern Region. Its capital is Sunyani.This region was created in 1958. It contains many cultural and wildlife attractions, but it is less known to tourists than the Ashanti, Northern, Central, or Greater...

 region is named. The Mole-Dagbane as well as the Mossi states were well established by the 16th century, with the Gonja state being established by the 17th Century.
From the 13th century numerous groups emerged from what is believed to have been the Bonoman area to create several Akan States mainly based on gold trading. These states included Denkyira
Denkyira
Denkyira was a powerful nation of Akan people that existed in southern present-day Ghana from 1620. Like all Akans they originated from Bono state. Before 1620 Denkyira was called Agona. The ruler of the Denkyira was called Denkyirahene and the capital was Jukwaa...

, Akwamu
Akwamu
The Akwamu was a state set up by the Akan people in Ghana which existed in the 17th century and 18th century. Originally immigrating from Bono state, the founders settled in Twifo-Heman. The Akwamu created an expansionist empire in the 16th and 17th century...

, Akyem
Akyem
The Akyem are an Akan people. The term Akyem is used to describe a group of three states: Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome. These nations are located primarily in the eastern regions of modern-day Ghana. The term is also used to describe the general area where the Akyem ethnic group...

. By the 19th Century most of Modern Ghanaian territory was included in the Empire of Ashanti
Ashanti Empire
The Ashanti Empire , also Asanteman was a West Africa state of the Ashanti people, the Akan people of the Ashanti Region, now in Ghana. The Ashanti or Asante are a major ethnic group in Ghana, a powerful, militaristic and highly disciplined people of West Africa...

, one of the most influential states in sub-Saharan Africa prior to colonial rule. The Ashanti government operated first as a loose network and eventually as a centralized kingdom with an advanced highly specialized bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 centred in Kumasi
Kumasi
Kumasi is a city in southern central Ghana's Ashanti region. It is located near Lake Bosomtwe, in the Rain Forest Region about northwest of Accra. Kumasi is approximately north of the Equator and north of the Gulf of Guinea...

. It is said that at its peak, the Asantehene could field 500,000 troops and had some degree of military influence over all of its neighbours.

Early European contact by the Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

, who came to Ghana in the 15th century, focused on the extensive availability of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

. The Portuguese first landed at a coastal city inhabited by the Fante nation-state and named the place Elmina
Elmina
Elmina, is a town in the Central Region, situated on a south-facing bay on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana, about 12 km west of Cape Coast...

. In 1481, King John II of Portugal
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

 commissioned Diogo d'Azambuja to build Elmina Castle
Elmina Castle
Elmina Castle was erected by Portugal in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana . It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara...

, which was completed in 3 years their aim was to trade for Akan gold
Economic history of Portugal
The economic history of Portugal covers the development of the economy throughout the course of Portuguese history. It has its roots prior to nationality, when Roman occupation developed a thriving economy in Hispania, in the provinces of Lusitania and Gallaecia, as producers and exporters to the...

.

By 1598, the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 had joined them and built forts at Komeda and Kormantsi. In 1617, they captured the Olnini Castle from the Portuguese and Axim
Axim
Axim is a town, district and kingdom on the coast of Ghana. It lies 64 kilometers west of the port city of Takoradi, south of the highway leading to the Côte d'Ivoire border, in the Western Region to the west of Cape Three Points....

 in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders joined in by the mid-17th century, largely English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

, Danes and Swedes. English merchants, impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it the Gold Coast, while French merchants, impressed with the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named the area to the west "Côte d'Ivoire", or Ivory Coast.


More than thirty forts and castles were built by the Portuguese, Dutch, British and Spanish merchants. The Gold Coast was known for centuries as 'The White Man's Grave' because many of the Europeans who went there died of malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 and other tropical diseases. After the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

. Following conquest by the British in 1896 until independence in March 1957, the territory of modern Ghana excluding the Volta Region
Volta Region
Volta Region is one of Ghana's ten administrative regions. It is to the east of Lake Volta. Its capital is Ho.-List of districts:The region has 18 districts consisting of 3 municipal and 15 ordinary districts:-Background:...

 (British Togoland
British Togoland
British Togoland was a League of Nations Class B mandate in West Africa, under the mandatory power of the United Kingdom. It was effectively formed in 1916 by the splitting of the occupied German protectorate of Togoland into two territories, French Togoland and British Togoland, during the First...

), was known as the Gold Coast.

Many wars occurred between the colonial powers and the various nation-states in the area including the 1806 Ashanti-Fante War
Ashanti-Fante War
The Ashanti-Fante War was fought between the Ashanti Confederacy and the Fante Confederacy of present-day Ghana.The Ashanti Confederacy was a major African kingdom on the Gold Coast...

 and the continuous struggle by the Ashanti against the British in many wars. The Ashanti defeated the British a few times but eventually lost with the Ashanti-British War in the early 1900s. Even under colonial rule the chiefs and people often resisted the policies of the British; however, moves toward de-colonization intensified after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In 1947 the newly formed United Gold Coast Convention
United Gold Coast Convention
The United Gold Coast Convention was a political party whose aim was to bring about Ghanaian independence from British rule after the Second World War....

 (UGCC) called for "self-government within the shortest possible time." After rioting increased in 1948, the members of the United Gold Coast Convention were arrested, including future prime minister and president Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966. Overseeing the nation's independence from British colonial rule in 1957, Nkrumah was the first President of Ghana and the first Prime Minister of Ghana...

. Later Nkrumah formed his own party, the Convention People's Party
Convention People's Party
The Convention People's Party is a socialist political party in Ghana, based on the ideas of former President Kwame Nkrumah.The CPP was formed in 1949 by Kwame Nkrumah to campaign for the independence of the Gold Coast. It ruled Ghana from 1957 to 1966...

 (CPP) with the motto "self government now." He began a 'Positive Action' campaign and gained the support of rural and working class people.
He was again imprisoned for being the leader of a party that caused boycotts, strikes and other forms of civil disobedience. After winning a majority in the Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly is the name given in some countries to either a legislature, or to one of its branch.The name is used by a number of member-states of the Commonwealth of Nations, as well as a number of Latin American countries....

 in 1952, Nkrumah was released and appointed leader of government business. After further negotiations with Britain, on March 6, 1957 at 12 a.m. Nkrumah declared Ghana "free forever".

The flag which consists of the colours red, gold, green and the black star became the new flag in 1957. Designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh, the red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold represents the mineral wealth of Ghana, the green symbolises the rich agriculture and the black star is the symbol of African emancipation.
Formed from the merger of the Gold Coast and British (formerly German) Togoland by a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 sponsored plebiscite in 1956, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence in 1957.

Kwame Nkrumah, first prime minister and then president of the modern Ghanaian state, as an anti-colonial leader sought a united Africa which would not drift into neo-colonialism. He was the first African head of state to promote Pan-Africanism
Pan-Africanism
Pan-Africanism is a movement that seeks to unify African people or people living in Africa, into a "one African community". Differing types of Pan-Africanism seek different levels of economic, racial, social, or political unity...

, an idea he came into contact with during his studies at Lincoln University
Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)
Lincoln University is the United States' first degree-granting historically black university. It is located near the town of Oxford in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The university also hosts a Center for Graduate Studies in the City of Philadelphia. Lincoln University provides...

 in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 (United States), at the time when Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League...

 was becoming famous for his "Back to Africa Movement." He merged the teachings of Garvey and the African-American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois into the formation of the modern day Ghana. Ghana's principles of freedom and justice, equity and free education for all, irrespective of ethnic background, religion or creed, borrow from Nkrumah's implementation of Pan-Africanism.


Although his goal of African unity was never realised, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as he is now known, played an instrumental part in the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, which was succeeded in 2002 by the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

. His achievements were recognised by Ghanaians during his centenary birthday celebrations, and the day was instituted as a public holiday. Dr. Nkrumah's government was subsequently overthrown by the military while he was abroad in February 1966. Former Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 employee John Stockwell
John Stockwell
John R. Stockwell is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving in the Agency for thirteen years serving seven tours of duty. After managing U.S...

 alleges that the CIA had an effective hand in forcing the coup.

A series of subsequent coups from 1966 to 1981 ended with the ascension to power of Flight Lieutenant
Flight Lieutenant
Flight lieutenant is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries. It ranks above flying officer and immediately below squadron leader. The name of the rank is the complete phrase; it is never shortened to "lieutenant"...

 Jerry Rawlings
Jerry Rawlings
Jerry John Rawlings is a former leader of the Republic of Ghana and now the African Union envoy to Somalia. Rawlings ruled Ghana as a military dictator in 1979 and from 1981 to 1992 and then as the first elected president of the Fourth Republic from 1993 to 2001...

 in 1981. These changes resulted in the suspension of the constitution in 1981 and the banning of political parties. The economy suffered a severe decline soon after, and many Ghanaians migrated to other countries.

Kwame Darko negotiated a structural adjustment plan with the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 and changed many old economic policies, and the economy began to recover. A new constitution restoring multi-party politics was promulgated in 1992, and Rawlings was elected as president then and again in 1996. The Constitution of 1992 prohibited him from running for a third term, so his party, the National Democratic Congress
National Democratic Congress (Ghana)
The National Democratic Congress is a social democratic political party in Ghana, founded by Jerry John Rawlings, who was Head of State of Ghana from 1981 to 1993 and the President of Ghana from 1993 to 2001. The NDC was formed ahead of elections in 1992 and 1996 returned Jerry John Rawlings to...

, chose his Vice President, John Atta Mills, to run against the opposition parties. Winning the 2000 elections, John Kufuor
John Kufuor
John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor was the second president of the 4th Republic of Ghana and Chairperson of the African Union...

 of the New Patriotic Party
New Patriotic Party
-External links:*...

 was sworn into office as president in January 2001 and beat Mills again in 2004, thus also serving two terms as president.

In 2009, John Atta Mills took office as President of Ghana
President of Ghana
The President of Ghana is the elected head of state and head of government of Ghana. Officially styled President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghanaian Armed Forces. The current President of Ghana is Prof. John Atta Mills, who took office in January...

 with a difference of about 40,000 votes (0.46%) between his party, the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party, marking the second time that power had been transferred from one legitimately elected leader to another and securing Ghana's status as a stable democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

.

In 2011, John Atta Mills won the NDC congress when he ran against Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings for the National Democratic Congress flagbearership. He won by 2,771 votes representing 96.9% of total votes cast.

Regions and districts


Ghana is divided into 10 administrative regions
Regions of Ghana
||Ghana is divided into ten regions :*Ashanti Region *Brong-Ahafo Region *Central Region *Eastern Region *Greater Accra Region *Northern Region *Upper East Region...

, subdivided into a total of 170 districts
Districts of Ghana
||The Districts of Ghana are second-level administrative subdivisions of Ghana, below the level of region.The districts of Ghana were re-organized in 1988/1989 in an attempt to decentralize the government and to combat the rampant corruption amongst officials...

. The regions are:

Government and politics




According to the 2009 Failed States Index, Ghana is ranked the 53rd least failed state in the world and the second least failed state in Africa after Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. Ghana ranked 124th out of 177 countries on the index. Ghana also was placed 7th out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries in the 2008 Ibrahim Index of African Governance
Ibrahim Index of African Governance
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is an attempt to statistically monitor African governance levels throughout all the countries of Africa. Funded and led by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, it uses a number of different indicators to compile an overall ranking of countries, which is designed to be...

 which was based on data from 2006. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African government, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens.

Government


Ghana was created as a parliamentary democracy at independence in 1957, followed by alternating military and civilian governments. In January 1993, military government gave way to the Fourth Republic after presidential and parliamentary elections in late 1992. The 1992 constitution divides powers among a president, parliament, cabinet, council of state, and an independent judiciary. The government is elected by universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

; however, the legislature is not proportionate, with low-population districts receiving more representatives per person than those with high populations....

Administrative divisions




There are ten administrative regions which are divided into 138 districts, each with its own district assembly. Below districts are various types of councils, including 58 town or area councils, 108 zonal councils, and 626 area councils. Sixteen thousand unit committees exist on the lowest level.

Judicial system


The legal system is based on British common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

, customary (traditional) law, and the 1992 constitution. Court hierarchy consists of Supreme Court of Ghana (highest court), courts of appeal, and high courts of justice. Beneath these bodies are circuit, magisterial, and traditional courts. Extrajudicial institutions include public tribunals. Since independence, courts are relatively independent; this independence continues under Fourth Republic. Lower courts are being redefined and reorganized under the Fourth Republic.

Politics




Political parties became legal in mid-1992 after a ten-year hiatus. There are many political parties under the Fourth Republic; the major ones are the National Democratic Congress
National Democratic Congress (Ghana)
The National Democratic Congress is a social democratic political party in Ghana, founded by Jerry John Rawlings, who was Head of State of Ghana from 1981 to 1993 and the President of Ghana from 1993 to 2001. The NDC was formed ahead of elections in 1992 and 1996 returned Jerry John Rawlings to...

 which won presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992, 1996 and 2008; the New Patriotic Party
New Patriotic Party
-External links:*...

, the major opposition party which won elections in 2000 and 2004; the People's National Convention, and the Convention People's Party
Convention People's Party
The Convention People's Party is a socialist political party in Ghana, based on the ideas of former President Kwame Nkrumah.The CPP was formed in 1949 by Kwame Nkrumah to campaign for the independence of the Gold Coast. It ruled Ghana from 1957 to 1966...

, successor to Kwame Nkrumah's original party of the same name.

Foreign relations



Since independence, Ghana has been devoted to ideals of nonalignment and Pan-Africanism
Pan-Africanism
Pan-Africanism is a movement that seeks to unify African people or people living in Africa, into a "one African community". Differing types of Pan-Africanism seek different levels of economic, racial, social, or political unity...

, both closely identified with Nkrumah. Ghana favours international and regional political and economic co-operation, and is an active member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

.

Many Ghanaian diplomats and politicians hold positions in international organisations. These include Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

, International Criminal Court Judge Akua Kuenyehia
Akua Kuenyehia
Akua Kuenyehia is a Ghanaian lawyer who has been a judge of the International Criminal Court since 2003. She is currently First Vice-President of the Court.Kuenyehia was educated at University of Ghana and Oxford University...

, former President Jerry Rawlings
Jerry Rawlings
Jerry John Rawlings is a former leader of the Republic of Ghana and now the African Union envoy to Somalia. Rawlings ruled Ghana as a military dictator in 1979 and from 1981 to 1992 and then as the first elected president of the Fourth Republic from 1993 to 2001...

 and former President John Agyekum Kuffour who have both been elected chairmen of the Economic Community of West African States
Economic Community of West African States
The Economic Community of West African States is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, its mission is to promote economic integration across the region....

.

Economy



The economy of Ghana was listed as The World's Fastest Growing Economy in 2011 in economic research led by Economy Watch with data coming from the IMF's tracker of GDP Growth in constant prices in the national currency (not converted to US dollars), with an economic growth predicted to be about 20% in 2011. Other countries have competing claims to be the fastest growing economy.

Ghana is a Middle Income Economy. Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has more than twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

. Known for its gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 in colonial times, Ghana remains one of the world's top gold producers. Other exports such as cocoa, oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

, timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

, electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

, diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

, bauxite
Bauxite
Bauxite is an aluminium ore and is the main source of aluminium. This form of rock consists mostly of the minerals gibbsite Al3, boehmite γ-AlO, and diaspore α-AlO, in a mixture with the two iron oxides goethite and hematite, the clay mineral kaolinite, and small amounts of anatase TiO2...

, and manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

 are major sources of foreign exchange.

An oilfield which is reported to contain up to 3 Goilbbl of light oil was discovered in 2007. Oil exploration is ongoing, and the amount of oil continues to increase. There is expected to be a tremendous inflow of capital into the economy beginning from the first quarter of 2011 when the country starts producing oil in commercial quantities. The oil is expected to account for 6% of the revenue for 2011.
The Akosombo Dam
Akosombo Dam
The Akosombo Dam , is a hydroelectric dam on the Volta River in southeastern Ghana in the Akosombo gorge and part of the Volta River Authority. The construction of the dam flooded part of the Volta River Basin, and the subsequent creation of Lake Volta...

, which was built on the Volta River in 1965 provides hydro-electricity for Ghana and its neighbouring countries.

Ghana’s labour force in 2008 totalled 11.5 million people. The economy continues to rely heavily on agriculture which accounts for 37.3% of GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 and provides employment for 56% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Manufacturing is only a small part of the Ghanaian economy totalling 7.9% of Gross Domestic Product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 in 2007.
Even though Ghana boasts of one of the highly skilled workforces in the sub-region, successive governments still rely on foreign countries to undertake strategic infrastructural projects in the country, including the very basic projects like housebuilding. These firms in turn sub-contract to local firms at a small fraction of the budget, resulting always in a net drain of Ghana's wealth to the said countries. Efforts to encourage local Ghanaian firms to play frontline roles as has been the hallmark of many great civilizations, in infrastructural development have always proven futile, leading to a perpetual dependency on external help and a net loss to Ghanaians. Typical among these is the award of a $1.5billion housing contract to STX of South Korea.
Ineffective economic policies of past military governments and regional peacekeeping commitments have led to continued inflationary deficit financing, depreciation of the Cedi, and rising public discontent with Ghana's austerity measures
Austerity
In economics, austerity is a policy of deficit-cutting, lower spending, and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided. Austerity policies are often used by governments to reduce their deficit spending while sometimes coupled with increases in taxes to pay back creditors to...

. Even so, Ghana remains one of the more economically sound countries in all of Africa.
In July 2007, the Bank of Ghana
Bank of Ghana
The Bank of Ghana is the central bank of Ghana. It is located in Accra and was formed in 1957. Its name is abbreviated to BOG.-Brief Historical Background:...

 embarked on a currency re-denomination exercise, from the Cedi (₵) to the new currency, the Ghana Cedi (GH₵). The transfer rate is 1 Ghana Cedi for every 10,000 Cedis. The Bank of Ghana employed aggressive media campaigns to educate the public about the re-denomination.
The new Ghana Cedi is relatively stable and in 2009 generally exchanged at a rate of US$1 = GH₵1.4
The Value Added Tax
Value added tax
A value added tax or value-added tax is a form of consumption tax. From the perspective of the buyer, it is a tax on the purchase price. From that of the seller, it is a tax only on the "value added" to a product, material or service, from an accounting point of view, by this stage of its...

 is a consumption tax administered in Ghana. The tax regime which started in 1998 had a single rate but since September 2007 entered into a multiple rate regime.
In 1998, the rate of tax was 10% and amended in 2000 to 12.5%. However with the passage of Act 734 of 2007, a 3% VAT Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS) began to operate for the retail distribution sector. This allows retailers of taxable goods under Act 546 to charge a marginal 3% on their sales and account on same to the VAT Service. It is aimed at simplifying the tax system and increasing compliance.

Tourism is a rapidly growing sector particularly among Europeans, Americans, and other internationals connected to the Ghanaian Diaspora abroad. Ghana's political and economic stability, low crime rate, and wide use of English make the country an attractive entrypoint to West Africa for foreigners. UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Sites including Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle is a fortification in Ghana built by Swedish traders. The first timber construction on the site was erected in 1653 for the Swedish Africa Company and named Carolusborg after King Charles X of Sweden. It was later rebuilt in stone....

 and Elmina Castle
Elmina Castle
Elmina Castle was erected by Portugal in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana . It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara...

, national parks such as Kakum National Park
Kakum National Park
Kakum National Park is a 375 square km national park located in the Central Region of Ghana. The park was first established in 1960. It is located 30km north of Cape Coast and Elmina near the small town of Abrafo. The entire area is covered with tropical rainforest.In the park gamekeepers are...

 and Mole National Park
Mole National Park
Mole National Park is Ghana's largest wildlife refuge. The park is located in northwest Ghana on grassland savanna and riparian ecosystems at an elevation of 150 m, with sharp escarpment forming the southern boundary of the park. The park's entrance is reached through the nearby town of...

, as well as cultural celebrations such as Panafest
Panafest
Panafest is a cultural event held in Ghana every two years for Africans and people of African descent. It was first held in 1992. The idea of this festival is to promote and enhance unity, Pan-Africanism, as well as the development of the continent of Africa itself...

 are major centres of tourist activity.

Geography



Ghana is a country located on the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

, only a few degrees north of the Equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

, therefore giving it a warm climate. The country spans an area of 238500 km² (92,085 sq mi). It is surrounded by Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

 to the east, Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

 to the west, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

 to the north and the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

 (Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

) to the south.

Ghana lies between latitudes
4th parallel north
The 4th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 4 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean and South America....

 and 12°N
12th parallel north
The 12th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 12 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Indian Ocean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, South America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 4°W
4th meridian west
The meridian 4° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 2°E
2nd meridian east
The meridian 2° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

. The Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian
The Prime Meridian is the meridian at which the longitude is defined to be 0°.The Prime Meridian and its opposite the 180th meridian , which the International Date Line generally follows, form a great circle that divides the Earth into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.An international...

 passes through the country, specifically through the industrial city of Tema
Tema
Tema is a city on the Atlantic coast of Ghana, lying east of the Ghanaian capital city, Accra, in the region of Greater Accra. As of 2005, Tema had a population of 209,000. The Greenwich Meridian passes directly through the city...

. Ghana is geographically closer to the "centre" of the world than any other country even though the notional centre, (0°, 0°) is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 614 km (382 mi) south of Accra, Ghana, in the Gulf of Guinea.

The country encompasses flat plains, low hills and a few rivers. Ghana can be divided into five different geographical regions. The coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed by plains and scrub and intersected by several rivers and streams while the northern part of the country features high plains. Southwest and south central Ghana is made up of a forested plateau region consisting of the Ashanti uplands and the Kwahu Plateau
Kwahu Plateau
The Kwahu Plateau is a long plateau in Ghana. It forms the country's watershed, separating the two main river networks in the country....

; the hilly Akuapim-Togo ranges are found along the country's eastern border.

The Volta Basin also takes up most of central Ghana. Ghana's highest point is Mount Afadjato
Mount Afadjato
Mount Afadjato is the highest mountain in Ghana, at an altitude of . The mountain is located in the Agumatsa Range near the villages of Liati Wote and Gbledi, in the Volta Region of Ghana at the border with Togo...

 which is 885 m (2,904 ft) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo Ranges.
The climate is tropical
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

. The eastern coastal belt
Dahomey Gap
In West Africa, the Dahomey Gap refers to the portion of the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic that extends all the way to the coast in Benin, Togo and Ghana, thus separating the forest zone that covers much of the south of the region into two separate parts...

 is warm and comparatively dry, the southwest corner is hot and humid, and the north is hot and dry. Lake Volta
Lake Volta
Lake Volta is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world, and the fourth largest one by water volume. It is located completely within the country of Ghana, and it has a surface area of about 8,502 km² . Lake Volta lies along the Greenwich Meridian, and just six degrees of latitude...

, the world's largest artificial lake, extends through large portions of eastern Ghana and is the main source of many tributary rivers such as the Oti
Oti River
The Oti River is a river in West Africa that rises in Burkina Faso. It forms part of the international boundaries between Benin and Burkina Faso and between Togo and Ghana. It empties into Lake Volta....

 and Afram rivers.

There are two main seasons in Ghana: the wet and the dry seasons. Northern Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to November while the south, including the capital Accra, experiences the season from April to mid-November.
Southern Ghana contains evergreen and semi deciduous forests consisting of trees such as mahogany
Mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

, odum and ebony
Ebony
Ebony is a dense black wood, most commonly yielded by several species in the genus Diospyros, but ebony may also refer to other heavy, black woods from unrelated species. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. Its fine texture, and very smooth finish when polished, make it valuable as an...

. It also contains much of Ghana's oil palms and mangroves. Shea trees, baobabs and acacias are usually found in the Volta
Volta Region
Volta Region is one of Ghana's ten administrative regions. It is to the east of Lake Volta. Its capital is Ho.-List of districts:The region has 18 districts consisting of 3 municipal and 15 ordinary districts:-Background:...

 region and the northern part of the country.

Demographics



Ghana has a population of about 24 million people. Ghana's first post-independence population census in 1960 counted about 6.7 million inhabitants. It is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups. Ghana has not seen the kind of ethnic conflict that has created civil wars in many other African countries. The official language is English; however, most Ghanaians also speak at least one local language.

The ethnic groups in Ghana are the Akan
Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...

 (which includes the Fante, Akyem
Akyem
The Akyem are an Akan people. The term Akyem is used to describe a group of three states: Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome. These nations are located primarily in the eastern regions of modern-day Ghana. The term is also used to describe the general area where the Akyem ethnic group...

, Ashanti, Kwahu
Kwahu
Kwahu is a region in south-central Ghana, on the west shore of Lake Volta. There are two common spellings, Kwawu and Kwahu. The "w" spelling is the official spelling from the African Studies Centre, University of Ghana, and more resembles the pronunciation...

, Akuapem
Akuapem
The Akuapem are an Akan people who predominantly occupy the Eastern region of Ghana.-History:The original inhabitants of the Akuapern Hills were predominantly Guan. The towns of Akuapem are in the Eastern Region of Ghana and situated between longitude 0°15 W - 0°00 and latitude 5°45 - 6°00 N...

, Nzema
Nzema
The Nzema are an Akan people numbering about 328,700 people of whom 262,000 live in southwestern Ghana and 66,700 live in the southeast of Côte d'Ivoire.In Ghana the Nzema area is divided into two electoral districts of Nzema East District and Nzema West which is also referred to as Jomoro District...

, Bono
Abron
The Abron or Bono are an Akan people of West Africa. They speak the Abron language.In the late sixteenth century, the Abron founded the Gyaaman kingdom as extension of Bono state in what is now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.-References:...

, Akwamu
Akwamu
The Akwamu was a state set up by the Akan people in Ghana which existed in the 17th century and 18th century. Originally immigrating from Bono state, the founders settled in Twifo-Heman. The Akwamu created an expansionist empire in the 16th and 17th century...

, Ahanta
Ahanta
The Ahanta are an Akan people who live to the north of the Nzema. Ahanta literally means the land of Twins. The Ahanta land has been historically known as one of the richest areas on the coast of what is now Ghana....

 and others) 49.3%, Mole-Dagbon
Dagomba
The Dagomba are an ethnic group of Northern Ghana. They inhabit the sparse savanna region below the sahelian belt, known as the Sudan. They speak the Dagbani language which belongs to the More-Dagbani sub-group of Gur languages...

 15.2%, Ewe
Ewe people
The Ewe are a people located in the southeast corner of Ghana, east of the Volta River, in an area now described as the Volta Region, in southern Togo and western Benin...

 11.7%, Ga
Ga people
The Ga-Adangbe are an ethnic group in the West African nation of Ghana. It is part of the Dangme ethnic group. The Ga people are grouped as part of theGa–Dangme ethnolinguistic group. They speak Kwa languages...

–Dangme (comprising the Ga
Ga people
The Ga-Adangbe are an ethnic group in the West African nation of Ghana. It is part of the Dangme ethnic group. The Ga people are grouped as part of theGa–Dangme ethnolinguistic group. They speak Kwa languages...

, Adangbe, Ada, Krobo and others) 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Gurunsi
Gurunsi
The Gurunsi are a set of ethnic groups inhabiting northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso.-Pre-Colonial History and Origins:Oral traditions of the Gurunsi hold that they originated from the western Sudan near Lake Chad. While it is unknown when the migration occurred, it is believed that the...

 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other (Hausa
Hausa people
The Hausa are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. They are a Sahelian people chiefly located in northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger, but having significant numbers living in regions of Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Chad and Sudan...

, Zabarema
Djerma
The Zarma people , are a people of westernmost Niger and adjacent areas of Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana and Nigeria. The Zarma language is one of the Songhai languages, a branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family...

, Fulani
Fula people
Fula people or Fulani or Fulbe are an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and Sudanese North Africa...

 and Others) 1.8% (2000 census).

According to the CIA World Factbook, religious divisions are as follows: Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 68.8%, Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 15.9%, Traditional African beliefs 8.5%.

Health



As of 2009, life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 at birth is about 59 years for males and 60 years for females with infant mortality
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 at 51 per 1000 live births. The total fertility rate is about 4 children per woman. There are about 15 physicians and 93 nurses per 100,000 persons. 4.5% of the country's GDP was spent on health in 2003.

Languages



Ethnologue
Ethnologue
Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International , a Christian linguistic service organization, which studies lesser-known languages, to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language and support their efforts in language development.The Ethnologue...

 lists a total of 79 languages
Languages of Ghana
Different sources give different figures for the number of languages of Ghana. This is because of different classifications of varieties as either languages or dialects. Ethnologue lists a total of 79 languages....

 for Ghana. English is the country's official language and predominates in government and business affairs. It is also the standard language used for educational instruction. Native Ghanaian languages are divided into two linguistic subfamilies of the Niger–Congo language family
Niger–Congo languages
The Niger–Congo languages constitute one of the world's major language families, and Africa's largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers, and number of distinct languages. They may constitute the world's largest language family in terms of distinct languages, although this question...

. Languages belonging to the Kwa subfamily
Kwa languages
The Kwa languages, often specified as New Kwa, are a proposed but as-yet-undemonstrated family of languages spoken in the south-eastern part of Côte d'Ivoire, across southern Ghana, and in central Togo...

 are found predominantly to the south of the Volta River, while those belonging to the Gur subfamily
Gur languages
The Gur languages, also known as Central Gur, belong to the Niger–Congo languages. There are about 70 languages belonging to this group. They are spoken in Burkina Faso, southern Mali, northeastern Côte d'Ivoire, northern Ghana, northern Togo, northwestern Benin, and southwestern Niger.Like most...

 are found predominantly to the north. The Kwa group, which is spoken by about 80% of the country's population, includes the Akan
Akan language
Akan, also known as Twi and Fante, is an Akan language that is the principal native language of Ghana, spoken over much of the southern half of that country, by about 52% of the population, and to a lesser extent across the border in eastern Côte d'Ivoire...

, Ga–Dangme (which includes Krobo), and Ewe
Ewe language
Ewe is a Niger–Congo language spoken in Ghana, Togo and Benin by approximately six million people. Ewe is part of a cluster of related languages commonly called Gbe, spoken in southeastern Ghana, Togo, and parts of Benin. Other Gbe languages include Fon, Gen, Phla Phera, and Aja...

 languages. The Gur group includes the Gurma, Grusi
Grusi languages
The Grũsi or Gurunsi languages are a group of Gur languages, comprising about 20 languages spoken by the Gurunsi peoples. The Grũsi languages are spoken in northern Ghana, adjacent areas of Burkina Faso, and Togo...

, and Dagbani language
Dagbani language
Dagbani is a Gur language spoken in Ghana. Its native speakers are primarily of the Dagomba people, but Dagbani is also widely known as a first language in northern Ghana.-Vowels:Dagbani has eleven phonemic vowels: six short and five long vowels:...

s. Nine languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: Akan, specifically Ashanti Twi, Fanti, Akuapem Twi, Akyem
Akyem
The Akyem are an Akan people. The term Akyem is used to describe a group of three states: Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku and Akyem Bosome. These nations are located primarily in the eastern regions of modern-day Ghana. The term is also used to describe the general area where the Akyem ethnic group...

, Kwahu
Kwahu
Kwahu is a region in south-central Ghana, on the west shore of Lake Volta. There are two common spellings, Kwawu and Kwahu. The "w" spelling is the official spelling from the African Studies Centre, University of Ghana, and more resembles the pronunciation...

, Ahanta, Nzema
Nzema
The Nzema are an Akan people numbering about 328,700 people of whom 262,000 live in southwestern Ghana and 66,700 live in the southeast of Côte d'Ivoire.In Ghana the Nzema area is divided into two electoral districts of Nzema East District and Nzema West which is also referred to as Jomoro District...

; Dagaare/Wale, Dagbani, Dangme
Adangme language
Adangme , is a Kwa language spoken in south-eastern Ghana by 800,000 people.Some sources list Adangbe as another name for the same language whereas lists it as a different language in the Kwa family, and it has a separate ISO 639-3 code of 'adq'.-Classification:Adangme is a Kwa language, part of...

, Ewe
Ewe language
Ewe is a Niger–Congo language spoken in Ghana, Togo and Benin by approximately six million people. Ewe is part of a cluster of related languages commonly called Gbe, spoken in southeastern Ghana, Togo, and parts of Benin. Other Gbe languages include Fon, Gen, Phla Phera, and Aja...

, Ga
Ga language
The Ga language is a Kwa language spoken in Ghana, in and around the capital Accra. It has a phonemic distinction between 3 vowel lengths.-Classification:Ga is a Kwa language, part of the Niger–Congo family...

, Gonja
Gonja language
The Gonja language is a Kwa language spoken by an estimated 230,000 people, almost all of whom are of the Gonja ethnic group of northern Ghana. Related to Guang languages in the south of Ghana, it is spoken by about a third of the population in the northern region...

 and Kasem. Though not an official language, Hausa
Hausa language
Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 25 million people, and as a second language by about 18 million more, an approximate total of 43 million people...

 is the lingua-franca among Ghana's Muslims who comprise about 16% of the population.

As an OIF associated-member, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 is increasingly taught in Ghana's high schools.

Religion



Christianity is the main religion in southern areas and parts of the North, while Islam remains the most populous in the northern regions. Christian-Muslim relations in Ghana are peaceful, tolerant and bilateral, despite sectarian violence in neighboring countries with similar regional divides like Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

. In many parts of the country, there is still the practice of traditional religions and these are sometimes intermixed with Christianity or Islam. They generally involve belief in a supreme being along with a pantheon of lesser gods. Ancestors and spirits also play a large role in these beliefs, as do animist aspects.

Christianity


Up until the arrival of the Europeans on the coasts of Ghana in the fourteenth century, the religion that was practiced in southern Ghana was Traditional African religion. As the Europeans explored parts of the country during the colonial days, so did Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 - spread. Christian denominations include Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, Baptists etc.

Islam


Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 has long been present in northern Ghana since at least 15th century. It was spread predominantly by that Soninke
Soninke
The Soninke are a Mandé people who descend from the Bafour and are closely related to the Imraguen of Mauritania. They speak the Soninke language, a Mande language. They were the founders of the ancient empire of Ghana c. 750-1240 CE...

 and Dyula
Dyula
The Dyula are a Mande ethnic group inhabiting several West African countries, including the Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau....

. Islam has culturally linked the people of northern Ghana to their neighbors in Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

, and Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

. There are three primary branches of Islam within the country: the largest group are Sunnis of the traditional Maliki
Maliki
The ' madhhab is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia...

 school of thought, followed by the Sufi Tijani-brotherhood who are also Sunni Malikis, and a small number of Muslims are Shia in urban areas in the south.

Other religions


There are also very small percentages of other religions in Ghana, including Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Shintoism
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

, Ninchiren Shoshu Sōka Gakkai, Sri Sathya Sai Baba Sera
Sathya Sai Baba
Śri Sathya Sai Baba , born as Sathyanarayana Raju was an Indian guru, spiritual figure, mystic, philanthropist, and educator. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, a spiritual saint and miracle worker who died in 1918 and whose teachings were an eclectic blend of Hindu and...

, Sat Sang
Satsang
Satsang in Indian philosophy means the company of the "highest truth," the company of a guru, or company with an assembly of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the truth...

, Eckankar
Eckankar
Eckankar is a new religious movement founded in the United States in 1965, though practiced around the world long before with a solid following in China. It focuses on spiritual exercises enabling practitioners to experience what its followers call "the Light and Sound of God." The personal...

, the Divine Light Mission
Divine Light Mission
The Divine Light Mission was an organization founded in 1960 by guru Shri Hans Ji Maharaj for his following in northern India. During the 1970s, the DLM gained prominence in the West under the leadership of his fourth and youngest son, Guru Maharaj Ji...

, Hare Krishna
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness , known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organization. It was founded in 1966 in New York City by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada...

, Ghana's Hindu Monastery headed by Swami Ghananand Saraswati and Rastafarianism
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

.

According to the census figures of the year 2000, out of Ghana's 18.8 million people, Christians make up 69 percent of the population while Muslims constitute 2.9 million, representing 15.6 percent of the population.

Culture and media




Ghana is an ethnically diverse country; thus, Ghanaian culture is a mixture of all its ethnic groups, the Akan
Akan
Akan may refer to:*Akan people, an ethnic group in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire**Kwa languages, a stock of dialects spoken by the Akan people.**Central Tano languages, a stock of dialects spoken by the Akan people....

, Ga
Ga people
The Ga-Adangbe are an ethnic group in the West African nation of Ghana. It is part of the Dangme ethnic group. The Ga people are grouped as part of theGa–Dangme ethnolinguistic group. They speak Kwa languages...

, Ewe
Ewe people
The Ewe are a people located in the southeast corner of Ghana, east of the Volta River, in an area now described as the Volta Region, in southern Togo and western Benin...

, Mamprusi and Dagomba
Dagomba
The Dagomba are an ethnic group of Northern Ghana. They inhabit the sparse savanna region below the sahelian belt, known as the Sudan. They speak the Dagbani language which belongs to the More-Dagbani sub-group of Gur languages...

, among others but, the culture goes in line with the demographics and is thus predominantly Akan. Ghana's cultural diversity is most evident in Ghanaian cuisine, the arts and clothing.

Football is the most popular sport. The national men's football team
Ghana national football team
The Ghana national football team, popularly known as the Black Stars, is the national association football team of Ghana and is controlled by the Ghana Football Association...

 is known as the Black Stars, with the under-20 team
Ghana national under-20 football team
Ghana national U-20 football team known as the Black Satellites, the current FIFA U-20 World Cup Champions and African Youth Champions, have been a three-time African Champion in 1995, 1999, 2009 and a two-time Runner-up at the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1993 and 2001...

 known as the Black Satellites. Ghana has participated in many championships including the African Cup of Nations
African Cup of Nations
The Africa Cup of Nations, also referred to as the African Cup of Nations or African Nations Cup, officially CAN , is the main international association football competition in Africa. It is sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football , and was first held in 1957. Since 1968, it has been...

, the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 and the FIFA U-20 World Cup
FIFA U-20 World Cup
The FIFA U-20 World Cup, until 2005 known as the FIFA World Youth Championship, is the world championship of football for male players under the age of 20 and is organized by Fédération Internationale de Football Association...

. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

, Ghana became the third African country to reach the quarter final stage of the World Cup after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002. There are several club football teams in Ghana, which play in the Ghana premier league and Division One league, both managed by the Ghana Football Association
Ghana Football Association
The Ghana Football Association is the governing body of association football in Ghana, based in Accra.-Amateur Status:It is on record that the game of Football was introduced into the Gold Coast towards the close of the 19th century by Merchants from Europe, who had then invaded the coastal areas...

. The country has also produced quite a few quality boxers such as Azumah Nelson
Azumah Nelson
Azumah Nelson , a native of Ghana, is a former professional boxer. He is a three-time world champion in two weight classes.Nelson is the former Lineal and two-time WBC Super Featherweight Champion...

 a three time world champion, Nana Yaw Konadu also a three time world champion, Ike Quartey
Ike Quartey
Ike "Bazooka" Quartey is a former WBA Welterweight champion boxer. He has fought numerous world champion boxers including Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Vernon Forrest and Ronald "Winky" Wright.-Biography:...

, and Joshua Clottey
Joshua Clottey
Joshua Clottey is a Ghanaian professional boxer. Born in Accra, Ghana, Clottey now lives in the Bronx, New York. He is the former IBF welterweight champion. He's also the brother of veteran boxers Judas Clottey and Emmanuel Clottey....

. Ghana also has a successful hockey team winning tournaments such as the Afro-Asian cup.
Textiles are very important in Ghanaian culture. These cloths are used to make traditional and modern attire. Different symbols and different colours mean different things. Kente
Kente cloth
Kente cloth, known locally as nwentoma, is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips and is native to the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.- Etymology :...

 is probably the most famous of all the Ghanaian cloths. Kente is an Akan ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a horizontal treadle loom. Strips measuring about 4 inches wide are sewn together into larger pieces of cloths. Cloths come in various colours, sizes and designs and are worn during very important social and religious occasions. In a cultural context, kente is more important than just a cloth. It is a visual representation of history and also form of a written language through weaving. The term kente has its roots in the Twi word kɛntɛn which means a basket. The first kente weavers used raffia fibres to weave cloths that looked like kenten (a basket); and thus were referred to as kenten ntoma; meaning basket cloth. The original Asante name of the cloth was nsaduaso or nwontoma, meaning "a cloth hand-woven on a loom"; however, the term kente is the most popularly used term today. Many variations of narrow-strip cloths similar to kente are woven by various ethnic groups in Ghana like the Ewe, Ga and others Ghana. It is also popular among the African diaspora
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

.

Ghana has been recognized on the international level through several artists, including the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop
Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop
The Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop is a studio established in Teshie, Ghana, since the Fifties. It is known for its Design Coffins that became symbolic of African artistic creativity.- History :...

 and Eric Adjetey Anang
Eric Adjetey Anang
Eric Adjetey Anang is a Ghanaian sculptor born in Teshie, Ghana, where he lives and works.-Biography:In 2001, he introduced Ghana design coffins at Gidan Makama Museum Kano, Nigeria, under the auspices of Alliance française in Kano....

 who are creating the famous design coffins.
The music of Ghana
Music of Ghana
Ghana has many styles of traditional and modern music, due to its multiplicity of ethnic groups and its cosmopolitan geographic position in West Africa. The best known modern genre that originated in Ghana is Highlife.-Traditional music:...

 is diverse. The sound varies from ethnic group and region. Ghanaian music incorporates several distinct types of musical instruments such as the talking drum ensembles, goje
Goje
The Goje, is one of the many names for a variety of one or two-stringed fiddles from West Africa, almost exclusively played by ethnic groups inhabiting the Sahel and Sudan sparsely vegetated grassland belts leading to the Sahara. Snakeskin or lizard skin covers a gourd bowl, and a horsehair...

 fiddle and koloko lute, court music, including the Akan atumpan, the Ga kpanlogo styles, and log xylophone
Xylophone
The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

s used in asonko music. The most well known genres to have come from Ghana are Afro-jazz which was created by Ghanaian artist Kofi Ghanaba
Guy Warren
Guy Warren of Ghana or Kofi Ghanaba was a Ghanaian musician, best known as the inventor of Afro-jazz and as a member of The Tempos.- Biography :...

. and its earliest form of secular music is called highlife
Highlife
Highlife is a musical genre that originated in Ghana in the 1900s and spread to Sierra Leone, Nigeria and other West African countries by 1920...

. Highlife originated in the late 19th century and early 20th century and spread throughout West Africa. In the 1990s a new genre of music was created by the youth incorporating the influences of Highlife Afro-reggae, dancehall
Dancehall
Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music that originated in the late 1970s. Initially dancehall was a more sparse version of reggae than the roots style, which had dominated much of the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, digital instrumentation became more prevalent, changing the sound considerably,...

 and hiphop. This hybrid was called Hiplife
Hiplife
Hiplife is a Ghanaian musical style which fuses highlife and hip hop. It is also influenced by dancehall and reggae. Recorded in Ghanaian languages such as Twi, Ewe and Ga, hiplife is rapidly gaining popularity throughout West Africa and abroad, especially in the United Kingdom, United States,...

. Ghanaian artists such as R&B and soul singer Rhian Benson
Rhian Benson
Rhiannon Afua "Rhian" Benson is a Ghanaian soul and jazz singer, songwriter, and composer.-Early life:Benson was born in Accra, Ghana to a Welsh mother, who was a singer, and an Ashanti father, who was a guitarist, and she has a younger sister.She was raised in Ghana, India, where her family moved...

 and highlife singer Kojo Antwi have had international success.

Ghanaian dance is as diverse as its music. Each ethnic group has their own traditional dances and there are different dances for different occasions. There are dances for funerals, celebrations, storytelling, praise and worship etc. Some of these dances include bamaya, adowa, kpanlongo, klama, agbadza, atsiagbekor, atsia, bɔbɔɔbɔ, and agahu.

The media of Ghana
Media of Ghana
The media of Ghana, now one of the most free in Africa, has previously undergone a series of government overthrows by military leaders and periods of severe restriction. Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees freedom of the press and independence of the media, while Chapter 2...

 is one of the most free in Africa and had previously undergone a series of government overthrows by military leaders and periods of severe restriction. Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees freedom of the press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

 and independence of the media, while Chapter 2 prohibits censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

. Post independence, the government and media often had a tense relationship, with private outlets closed during the military coups and strict media laws that prevent criticism of government. The media freedoms were restored in 1992, and after the election in 2000 of John Kufuor
John Kufuor
John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor was the second president of the 4th Republic of Ghana and Chairperson of the African Union...

 the tensions between the private media and government decreased. Kufuor was a supporter of press freedom and repealed a libel law, though maintained that the media had to act responsibly. The Ghanaian media has been described as "one of the most unfettered" in Africa, operating with little restriction on private media. The private press often carries criticism of government policy. The media were vigorous in their coverage of the 2008 Ghanaian presidential election
Ghanaian presidential election, 2008
A presidential election was held in Ghana on 7 December 2008, at the same time as a parliamentary election. Since no candidate received more than 50% of the votes, a run-off election was held on 28 December, 2008 between the two candidates who received the most votes, Nana Akufo-Addo and John Atta...

, and the Ghanaian Journalists Association (GJA) praised John Atta Mills on his election, hoping to foster a good media-government relationship.

British artist Adelaide Damoah
Adelaide Damoah
Adelaide Damoah is a British artist of Ghanaian decent whose work combines African and Western influences while highlighting social issues. Damoah's debut exhibition entitled "Black Brits," took place in 2006 in Islington in London, UK...

 is of Ghanaian descent. Her work is noted for raising social issues whilst combining African and western influences.

Education



The adult literacy rate in Ghana was 65% in 2007, with males at 71.7% and females at 58.3%. Ghana has a 6-year primary education system beginning at age six, and, under the educational reforms implemented in 1987 and reformed in 2007, they pass on to a 3-year junior high school system. At the end of the 3rd year of junior high, there is a mandatory Basic Education Certificate Examination. Those continuing must complete the 3-year senior high school program and take an admission exam to enter any university or tertiary programme.

Presently, Ghana has 21,530 primary schools, 8,850 junior secondary schools, 900 senior secondary schools, 52 public training colleges, 5 private training colleges, 5 polytechnical institutions, 4 non-university public tertiary institutions, 8 public universities and over 45 private tertiary institutions. Most Ghanaians have relatively easy access to primary and secondary education. These numbers can be contrasted with the single university and handful of secondary and primary schools that existed at the time of independence in 1957. Ghana's spending on education has varied between 28-40% of its annual budget in the past decade. All teaching is done in English, mostly by qualified Ghanaian educators.

The courses taught at the primary or basic school level include English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, Ghanaian language and culture, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

,
environmental studies, social studies and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 as a third language are added, integrated or general science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, pre-vocational skills and pre-technical skills, religious and moral education, and physical activities such as music, dance and physical education. The senior high level school curriculum has core subjects and elective subjects of which students must take four the core subjects of English language, mathematics, integrated science (including science, agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and environmental studies) and social studies (economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

, history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 and government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

).

The high school students also choose 3 elective subjects from 5 available programmes: agriculture programme, general programme (arts or science option), business programme, vocational programme and technical programme. Apart from most primary and secondary schools which choose the Ghanaian system of schooling, there are also international schools such as the Ghana International School, Takoradi International School, Tema International School, Galaxy International School, The Roman Ridge School, Lincoln Community School
Lincoln Community School (Accra Ghana, West Africa)
Lincoln Community School is a private school in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. It is a non-profit, college-preparatory, international school. There is an expatriate population associated with the various embassies, Foreign Service agencies, NGO’s, United Nations organizations, and international...

, Faith Montessori School, American International School, SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College and International Community School, which offer the International Baccalaureat, Advanced Level General Certificate of Education and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).

With 83% of its children in school, Ghana currently has one of the highest school enrolment rates in West Africa. The ratio of girls to boys in the total education system is 1:0.96, which for a West African country is a considerable achievement. That said, some 500,000 children still remain out of school because of resource constraints in building schools, providing adequate textbooks and training new teachers.

Ghana's tertiary education sector is growing rapidly. There are six national public universities in Ghana, the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, University of Education, University for Development Studies and University of Mines and Technology. Ghana also has a growing number of accredited private universities including Ashesi University College, Central University College, Catholic University College and Valley View University.

The oldest university in Ghana, The University of Ghana, was founded in 1948. It had a total of about 29,754 students in 2008. Its programmes in the Arts, Humanities, Business, and the Social Sciences, as well as Medicine are the best in the country. The University has produced the bulk of lawyers and politicians in the country. Unfortunately, the university's stiff opposition to the standard of a new senior secondary school system have seen a shift of its traditionally best students to the Kwame Nkrumah University. Since Ghana's independence, the country has been one of the educational hot spots in sub-Saharan Africa and has played host to notables such as President Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

 of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

, Alhaji Sir Dauda Jawara of The Gambia
The Gambia
The Republic of The Gambia, commonly referred to as The Gambia, or Gambia , is a country in West Africa. Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west....

 and Cyprian Ekwensi
Cyprian Ekwensi
Cyprian Ekwensi, MFR was a Nigerian short story writer and author of children's books.-Early life, education and family:Ekwensi, an Igbo, was born in Minna, Niger State...

 of Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 among others. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

 has been chancellor of the University of Ghana since 2008.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is a university located in Kumasi, Ghana.It is the second public university established in the country. The University has its roots in the plans of the Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh I to establish a university in Kumasi as part of his drive...

, the second university to be established in Ghana, is the premier university of science and technology in Ghana and West Africa. It has very high international rating in the sciences.

See also


  • Commonwealth of Nations
    Commonwealth of Nations
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    Transport in Ghana
    Transport in Ghana is accomplished by road, rail, air and water. Ghana's transportation and communications networks are centered in the southern regions, especially the areas in which gold, cocoa, and timber are produced...



Further reading

  • Arhin, Kwame, The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah, (Africa Research & Publications, 1995)
  • Babatope, Ebenezer, The Ghana Revolution: From Nkrumah to Jerry Rawlings, (Fourth Dimension Publishing, 1982)
  • Birmingham, David, Kwame Nkrumah: Father Of African Nationalism, (Ohio University Press, 1998)
  • Boafo-Arthur, Kwame, Ghana: One Decade of the Liberal State, (Zed Books Ltd, 2007)
  • Briggs, Philip, Ghana (Bradt Travel Guide), (Bradt Travel Guides, 2010)
  • Clark, Gracia, African Market Women: Seven Life Stories from Ghana, (Indiana University Press, 2010)
  • Cottrell, Anna, Once upon a Time in Ghana: Traditional Ewe Stories Retold in English, (Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2007)
  • Davidson, Basil, Black Star: A View of the Life and Times of Kwame Nkrumah, (James Currey, 2007)
  • Falola, Toyin and Salm, Stephen J, Culture and Customs of Ghana, (Greenwood, 2002)
  • Gocking, Roger S, The History of Ghana, (Greenwood, 2005)
  • Grant, Richard, Globalizing City: The Urban and Economic Transformation of Accra, Ghana, (Syracuse University Press, 2008)
  • Hadjor, Kofi Buenor, Nkrumah and Ghana (Africa Research & Publications, 2003)
  • Hasty, Jennifer, The Press and Political Culture in Ghana, (Indiana University Press, 2005)
  • Kuada, John and Chachah Yao, Ghana. Understanding the People and their Culture, (Woeli Publishing Services, 1999)
  • Miescher, Stephan F, Making Men in Ghana, (Indiana University Press, 2005)
  • Milne, June, Kwame Nkrumah, A Biography, (Panaf Books, 2006)
  • Nkrumah, Kwame, Ghana : The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, (International Publishers, 1971)
  • Utley, Ian, Ghana - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture, (Kuperard, 2009)
  • Various, Ghana: An African Portrait Revisited, (Peter E. Randall Publisher, 2007)
  • Younge, Paschal Yao, Music and Dance Traditions of Ghana: History, Performance and Teaching, (Mcfarland & Co Inc., 2011)

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