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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. John Atta MILLS took over as head of state in early 2009.

Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo

total: 238,533 sq km

Country comparison to the world:
land: 227,533 sq km
water: 11,000 sq km

tropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north

Natural Resources:
gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone

Population: 25,241,998 (July 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47.

Ethnic groups
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 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census).

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% (2000 census).

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 (includes English (official)) 36.1% (2000 census).

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.9%
male: 66.4%
female: 49.8% (2000 census)

Government type: constitutional democracy

name: Accra
geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

6 March 1957 (from the UK)

Legal system:
mixed system of English common law and customary law

Executive branch:
chief of state: President John Evans Atta MILLS (since 7 January 2009); Vice President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 7 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

head of government: President John Evans Atta MILLS (since 7 January 2009); Vice President John Dramani MAHAMA (since 7 January 2009)

cabinet: Council of Ministers; president nominates members subject to approval by Parliament
(For more information visit the World Leaders website)
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 7 and 28 December 2008 (next to be held on 7 December 2012)
election results: John Evans Atta MILLS elected president in run-off election; percent of vote - John Evans Atta MILLS 50.23%, Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO 49.77%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (230 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote in single-seat constituencies to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held on 7 December 2008 (next to be held on 7 December 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDC 114, NPP 107, PNC 2, CPP 1, independent 4, other 2

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; High Court; Court of Appeal; regional tribunals

Economy Overview
Ghana's economy has been strengthened by a quarter century of relatively sound management, a competitive business environment, and sustained reductions in poverty levels. Ghana is well endowed with natural resources and agriculture accounts for roughly one-quarter of GDP and employs more than half of the workforce, mainly small landholders. The services sector accounts for 50% of GDP. Gold and cocoa production and individual remittances are major sources of foreign exchange. Oil production at Ghana's offshore Jubilee field began in mid-December, 2010, and is expected to boost economic growth. President Mills faces challenges in managing new oil revenue while maintaining fiscal discipline and resisting debt accumulation. Estimated oil reserves have jumped to almost 700 million barrels . Ghana signed a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in 2006, which aims to assist in transforming Ghana's agricultural sector. 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. In 2009 Ghana signed a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF to improve macroeconomic stability, private sector competitiveness, human resource development, and good governance and civic responsibility. Sound macro-economic management along with high prices for gold and cocoa helped sustain GDP growth in 2008-11. 

Key Economic Indicators
GDP – real growth rate:
13.5% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2
7.7% (2010 est.)
4% (2009 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$3,100 (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
$2,800 (2010 est.)
$2,600 (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars

GDP – composition by sector
agriculture: 28.3%

industry: 21%
services: 50.7% (2011 est.)

Labor force:
10.77 million (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49

revenues: $7.358 billion
expenditures: $9.431 billion (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
8.8% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
10.7% (2010 est.)

Agriculture – products:
cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber

mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building

$13.13 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
$7.892 billion (2010 est.)

Exports – commodities:
gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticulture

Exports - partners

Netherlands 11.7%, UK 7%, France 5.7%, US 5.6%, Ukraine 5%, Belgium 4.6% (2010)

$14.03 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
$10.95 billion (2010 est.)

Imports – commodities:
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs

Imports – Partners

China 16.6%, Nigeria 12.7%, US 8.4%, Cote dIvoire 6.2%, UK 4.5%, France 4.2% (2010)

Exchange rates:
cedis (GHC) per US dollar -
1.495 (2011 est.)
1.431 (2010 est.)
1.409 (2009)
1.1 (2008)
0.95 (2007)

Telephones – main lines in use

277,900 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 119

Telephones – mobile cellular:
17.436 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 48

Telephone system:
general assessment: primarily microwave radio relay; wireless local loop has been installed; outdated and unreliable fixed-line infrastructure heavily concentrated in Accra
domestic: competition among multiple mobile-cellular providers has spurred growth with a subscribership of more than 70 per 100 persons and rising
international: country code - 233; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC, Main One, and GLO-1 fiber-optic submarine cables that provide connectivity to South Africa, Europe, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); microwave radio relay link to Panaftel system connects Ghana to its neighbors (2009)

Internet country code: .gh

Internet hosts: 41,082 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 93

Internet Users: 1.297 million (2009)

country comparison to the world:

 Source: CIA World Factbook