Ghana By | Saturday, September 8  2012 at  15:30

Full Name of state
Republic of Ghana
Origins of name: Named after the Ancient West African Kingdom of Ghana. It is speculated that the word ‘Ghana’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Ghinaa’, which denotes the attributes of gold and wealth
Formerly: Gold Coast.

Current Leader

John Dramani Mahama

Overview
Ghana was formed from a merger of former colony of Gold Coast and Togoland.
Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to attain independence in 1957
There were a series of coups in Ghana until the entry of Lt Jerry Rawlings.
Lt Jerry Rawlings banned political parties in 1981.

Facts

Form of Government
Constitutional democracy
President is both the chief of state and head of government
President and Vice-President are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four- year term.
President and Vice-President can run for maximum two four year terms


Government structure
President, Vice-President, Unicameral Parliament

Military Statistics
Manpower available for service: males 5,802,096 females, 5,729,939
Expenditures: 0.8% of GDP (2006)
Branches: Ghanaian Army, Ghanaian Navy, Ghanaian Air Force (2008)

Current Ruler
President John Dramani Mahama

Ghanaian President John Mahama swears an oath holding the Bible at his inauguration at Independence Square, Accra on January 7. 2013. PHOTO | AFP

Former Rulers
1957 -1966- Dr Kwame Nkrumah
1966 - 1970- Brigadier Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa
August 7, 1970 – August 31, 1970 Nii Amaa Ollennu, acting President
1970 - 1972 Edward Akufo-Addo
1970 – 1975 Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong
1975 – 1978 Lieutenant-General Frederick Fred William Kwasi Akuffo
1978 - 1979 Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings
1979 - 1981 Dr Hilla Limann
1981 – 2001 Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings
1993 - 2001 Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, President
2001 - 2009 John Agyekum Kufuor, President

2009 - 2012 John Atta Mills

Capital
Accra
Altitude: 27 metres
Population: 1.963 million

Population
Size: 25,241,998 (2012)
Life expectancy: 59.85 years
Gender Make-Up: 50.07 males, 49.93 females

GDP per capita
$ 3,100 (2011)

$ 2,800 (2010)

Geography
Area: 2,094km
Land boundaries: Burkina Faso 549km, Cote d'Ivoire 668km, Togo 877km

Major Languages
Asante 14.8%, Ewe 12.7%, Fante 9.9%, Boron (Brong) 4.6%, Dagomba 4.3%, Dangme 4.3%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.7%, Akyem 3.4%, Ga 3.4%, Akuapem 2.9%, other 36.1% (includes English (official))

Religious portfolio
Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%, Traditional 8.5%, Other 0.7%, none 6.1%

National Make-up
Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 9.2%

Natural Resources
Cocoa, Gold, Wood, Aluminium, Diamonds, Manganese ore, Bauxite

Main exports
Gold, Cocoa, Timber, Tuna, Bauxite, Aluminium, Manganese ore, Diamonds, Horticulture

Land Use
Arable land: 17.54%
Permanent crops: 9.22%
Other: 73.24% (2005)

Monetary Unit/Currency
Cedi

Dialling Code
+233

Internet Code
.gh

Transport
Main Port: Tema
Main Airport: Kotoka International Airport located 12km from Accra city centre.

Modern issues

Environmental
Deforestation
Water pollution
Poaching
Recurrent droughts, especially in the north
Overgrazing

Political
Civil society has flourished.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana is one of the most respected institutions.
The Electoral Commission has remained under the same Chair, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, since formation in 1993
National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) was established to review alleged human rights abuses during the Rawlings era
Consolidation of the democratic gains by country continues after election of new president
Media and academia publish seriously and freely on governance

Incumbent John Dramani Mahama won the presidential elections held in December 2012 garnering 50.7 per cent of the vote

Economic
A visiting International Monetary Fund team projected that Ghana’s economy is likely to be the fastest growing in the world in 2011

Ghana’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture (35% of GDP).
Gold and cocoa production, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange
Sound macro-economic management along with high prices for gold and cocoa helped sustain GDP growth in 2008
Ghana heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance
In 2002, Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) programme. Later in 2006, Ghana went for Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative

Social
In an effort to improve the socio-economic well-being of the citizenry, Ghana rolled out an ICT training programme for approximately 5,000 people living with disabilities

Despite high growth in 2011, there has been an agitation for better pay that swept the country

Foreign Affairs
Like elsewhere in Africa, China’s project funding to the nation has been on the rise – this year a $13 billion infrastructure loan from China was announced. However, this hasn’t affected the nation’s integrity as it continues to crack down on Chinese individuals engaging in illegal mining activities

Non-aligned Movement and the AU on economic and political issues that do not directly affect its own interests
Ghana is a member of AU, UN and several other specialised bodies- both regional and international
Largest African peacekeeping contributor nation to multinational peacekeeping operations
Ghana has increasingly played a lead role in sub-region issues

The Major Conflicts

Conflicts in Ghana's northern region
When: 1992/1994 and recurs
Who: Traditional Dagomba kingdom versus Konkomba
Why: Stalemates regarding political decisions
Outcome: Several thousands dead, several people migrate

Liberation struggle
When: 1949
Who: Led by Kwame Nkrumah
Why: Colonial oppression
Outcome: Independence

What to see?
Fantasy coffins- among the Ga people, coffins made to depict the profession of the dead
Kakum Nature Reserve
Larabanga Mosque- believed to be god built
Witches' settlements where people believed to practise witchcraft were buried.

Sports
Popular Sports
Football
Boxing
Basketball
Swimming
Tennis
Cricket

Famous sportsmen and sportswomen
Abedi Ayew “Pele”: One of the pioneer Africans to venture into European football
Tony Yeboah: One of the most prominent and prolific goal scorers in Ghanaian and African football history. He gained reputation for scoring spectacular goals which often featured in Goal of the Month or Goal of the Season competitions

Michael Essien: Between the summer of 2007 and the summer of 2009, Essien was the most expensive African footballer on account of his £24.4 million move from French club Olympique Lyonnais to Chelsea FC

Quirks
Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake
Fantasy coffins of the Ga people