The Republic of Ghana was created in 1957,
when the British colony, the Gold Coast, gained independence, the first
sub-Saharan nation to do so. The name Ghana was chosen to reflect the
ancient Empire of Ghana, which once extended through much of west Africa.
Ghana suffered several coups before Lt. Jerry Rawlings took power in 1981
and eventually restored a multiparty political system. Ghana, with a total
area of approaching 240,000 sq. km is located in west Africa between the
Ivory Coast and Togo and borders the Gulf of Guinea.
The country has a
population of around 25 million and its capital, Accra, has around 2.25
million inhabitants, the Accra agglomeration around 4 million.
developed from its former role as the capital of the British-ruled Gold
Coast from 1877 into a modern metropolis with a mix of British colonial
buildings and skyscrapers. The city is now a cultural and tourist hub with
hotels, restaurants and nightclubs.
Ghana’s population growth rate is less
than 2% and life expectancy (at birth) is about 60 for men and 62 for women.
Ghana is well endowed with natural resources. Agriculture involving mainly
small landholders employs about 50% of the working population. Gold and
cocoa production are major sources of foreign exchange. It is expected that
the recent start (2010) of oil production will provide a much needed boost
to the economy, as the country has been heavily in debt for some time. Ghana
remains very dependent on international financial and technical assistance.
Some interesting facts on travelling to and in Ghana: the country has 11
airports, but only 7 have paved runways; it has over 62,000 km of roads, but
only about 10,000 km are paved.