Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, RAWLINGS won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John KUFUOR succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. Kufuor is constitutionally barred from running for a third term in upcoming Presidential elections, which are scheduled for December 2008.


Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d’Ivoire and Togo
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 2 00 W
Population: 24,652,402 (July 2012 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2012 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 36.5% (male 4,568,273/female 4,468,939)

15-64 years: 60% (male 7,435,449/female 7,436,204)

65 years and over: 3.6% (male 399,737/female 482,471) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Ghana

conventional short form: Ghana

former: Gold Coast

Government type: constitutional democracy
Capital: name: Accra

geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Telephones – main lines in use: 277,900 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 17.436 million (2009)
Airports: 10 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 7

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2012)

Military branches: Ghanaian Army, Ghanaian Navy, Ghanaian Air Force (2012)
Military service age and obligation: 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service, with basic education certificate; no conscription; must be HIV/AIDS negative (2012)


Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold and cocoa production, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for about 35% of GDP and employs about 55% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program in 2002, and is also benefiting from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative that took effect in 2006.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: Ghana struggles to accommodate returning nationals who worked in the cocoa plantations and escaped fighting in Cote d’Ivoire
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin):11,585 (Liberia); 16,000 (Cote d’Ivoire) (2011)