GHANAIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 92,098 square miles

Population: 24,233,431

Capital:  Accra

Currency: Ghana cedi

Weather / Climate:

Ghana is a country located on the Gulf of Guinea, only a few degrees north of the Equator, therefore giving it a warm climate. The country spans an area of 238,500 km2 (92,085 sq mi). It is surrounded by Togo to the east, Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south.

Ghana lies between latitudes 4° and 12°N, and longitudes 4°W and 2°E. The Prime Meridian passes through the country, specifically through the industrial city of Tema. 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.[89]

LakeVolta in Ghana is the largest reservoir in the world, extending from the Akosombo Dam in southeastern Ghana to the town of Yapei, some 400 kilometres (250 mi) to the north. The lake generates electricity, provides inland transport, and is a potentially valuable resource for irrigation and fish farming

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; 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 which is 885 m (2,904 ft) and is found in the Akwapim-Togo Ranges. The climate is tropical. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the southwest corner is hot and humid, and the north is hot and dry. Lake Volta, 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 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, odum and ebony. It also contains much of Ghana's oil palms and mangroves. Shea trees, baobabs and acacias are usually found in the Volta region and the northern part of the country.

Taken from wikipedia

GHANAIAN languages

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.

As with many ex-colonies in Africa, the official language of Ghana is the colonial language, English. Nine languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: Akan, Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema. However, two dialects of Akan, Twi and Fante, although not government-sponsored, are also widely spoken in Ghana.

Government-sponsored languages

There are nine government-sponsored languages. They are supported by the Bureau of Ghana Languages, which was established in 1951 and publishes materials in them. During the periods when Ghanaian languages were used in primary education, these were the languages which were used.

Akan

Twi is one of the Akan languages, which are part of the Kwa branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is the most widely spoken language in Ghana. The dialects, especially Twi and Fante, are often given the status of separate languages.

Dagaare

Dagaare, and Whale is one of the Oti–Volta languages within the Gur branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is spoken in the Upper Western Region of Ghana. It is also spoken in Burkina Faso.

Dagbani

Dagbani is one of the Oti–Volta languages within the Gur branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is spoken in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Dangme

Dangme is one of the Ga–Dangme languages within the Kwa branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is spoken in Greater Accra, in south-east Ghana and Togo.

Ewe

Ewe is a Gbe language, part of the Kwa branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is spoken by approximately 2 million people in the Volta Region of south-east Ghana. It is also spoken in Togo.

Ga

Ga is a Kwa language, part of the Niger–Congo family. It is very closely related to Dangme, and together they form the Ga–Dangme branch within Kwa. Ga is spoken in south-eastern Ghana, in and around the capital Accra and Togo.

Gonja

Gonja is one of the Potou–Tano languages, part of the Kwa branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is spoken in the Northern Region of Ghana and Wa.

Kasen

Kasem is a Gur branch of the Niger–Congo language family spoken in the Upper Eastern Region of Ghana. It is also spoken in Burkina Faso.

Nzema

Nzema is one of the Potou–Tano languages, part of the Kwa branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is spoken by the Nzema people in the Western Region of Ghana. It is also spoken in the Ivory Coast.

Taken from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Ghana

GHANAIAN people

Population density increased steadily from thirty-six per square kilometer in 1970 to fifty-two per square kilometer in 1984; in 1990 sixty-three persons per square kilometer was the estimate for Ghana's overall population density. These averages, naturally, did not reflect variations in population distribution. For example, while the Northern Region, one of ten administrative regions, showed a density of seventeen persons per square kilometer in 1984, in the same year Greater Accra Region recorded nine times the national average of fifty-two per square kilometer. As was the case in the 1960 and 1970 figures, the greatest concentration of population in 1984 was to the south of the Kwahu Plateau. The highest concentration of habitation continued to be within the Accra-Kumasi-Takoradi triangle, largely because of the economic productivity of the region. In fact, all of the country's mining centers, timber-producing deciduous forests, and cocoa-growing lands lie to the south of the Kwahu Plateau. The Accra-Kumasi-Takoradi triangle also is conveniently linked to the coast by rail and road systems—making this area an important magnet for investment and labor.[3]

By contrast, a large part of the Volta Basin was sparsely populated. The presence of tsetse flies, the relative infertility of the soil, and, above all, the scarcity of water in the area during the harmattan season affect habitation. The far north, on the other hand, was heavily populated. The eighty-seven persons to a square kilometer recorded in the 1984 census for the Upper East Region, for example, was well above the national average. This may be explained in part by the somewhat better soil found in some areas and the general absence of the tsetse fly; however, onchocerciasis, or river blindness, a fly-borne disease, is common in the north, causing abandonment of some land. With the improvement of the water supply through well-drilling and the introduction of intensive agricultural extension services as part of the Global 2000 program since the mid-1980s, demographic figures for the far north could be markedly different by the next census.[3]

Another factor affecting Ghana's demography was refugees. At the end of 1994, approximately 110,000 refugees resided in Ghana. About 90,000 were Togolese who had fled political violence in their homeland beginning in early 1993 (see Relations with Immediate African Neighbors, ch. 4). Most Togolese had settled in Volta Region among their ethnic kinsmen. About 20,000 Liberians were also found in Ghana, having fled the civil war in their country (see International Security Concerns, ch. 5). Many were long-term residents. As a result of ethnic fighting in northeastern Ghana in early 1994, at least 20,000 Ghanaians out of an original group of 150,000 were still internally displaced at the end of the year. About 5,000 had taken up residence in Togo because of the strife.[3]

Urban-rural disparities

Localities of 5,000 persons and above have been classified as urban since 1960. On this basis, the 1960 urban population totalled 1,551,174 persons, or 23.1 percent of total population. By 1970, the percentage of the country's population residing in urban centers had increased to 28 percent. That percentage rose to 32 in 1984 and was estimated at 33 percent for 1992.[4]

Like the population density figures, the rate of urbanization varied from one administrative region to another. While the Greater Accra Region showed an 83-percent urban residency, the Ashanti Region matched the national average of 32 percent in 1984. The Upper West Region of the country recorded only 10 percent of its population in urban centers that year, which reflected internal migration to the south and the pattern of development that favored the south, with its minerals and forest resources, over the north. Urban areas in Ghana have customarily been supplied with more amenities than rural locations. Consequently, Kumasi, Accra, and many towns within the southern economic belt attracted more people than the savanna regions of the north; only Tamale in the north has been an exception. The linkage of the national electricity grid to the northern areas of the country in the late 1980s may help to stabilize the north-to-south flow of internal migration.[4]

The growth of urban population notwithstanding, Ghana continued to be a nation of rural communities. The 1984 enumeration showed that six of the country's ten regions had rural populations of 5 percent or more above the national average of 68 percent. Rural residency was estimated to be 67 percent of the population in 1992. These figures, though reflecting a trend toward urban residency, were not very different from the 1970s when about 72 percent of the nation's population lived in rural areas.[4]

In an attempt to perpetuate this pattern of rural-urban residency and thereby to lessen the consequent socioeconomic impact on urban development, the "Rural Manifesto," which assessed the causes of rural underdevelopment, was introduced in April 1984. Development strategies were evaluated, and some were implemented to make rural residency more attractive. As a result, the Bank of Ghana established more than 120 rural banks to support rural entrepreneurs, and the rural electrification program was intensified in the late 1980s. The government, moreover, presented its plans for district assemblies as a component of its strategy for rural improvement through decentralized administration, a program designed to allow local people to become more involved in planning development programs to meet local needs.

Taken from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_ghana

GHANAIAN food

There are diverse traditional dishes from each ethnic group, tribe and clan from the north to the south and from the east to west. Foods also vary according to the season, time of the day, and occasion. Ghanaian main dishes unlike other cunalyes, are organized around a starchy staple such as rice, fufu, banku/etew, kenkey/dokonu, tuozafi, dzidzii, akplidzii, yakeyake, eto, akyeke, etc., with which a sauce or soup saturated with fish, snails, meat or mushrooms is served.

Main staple foods

The typical Ghanaian staples in the south include cassava and plantain. In the northern parts of the country, their main staples include millet and sorghum,. Yam, maize and beans are used across the country as staple foods. Crops such as peanuts and cocoyam are also important in the local cuisine. With the advent of modernization and colonialism, imported crops such as rice and wheat have been increasingly incorporated in Ghanaian cuisine. The foods below represent the different dishes made out of these staple foods.

Some of the main starchy dishes are:

  • Fufu – pounded cassava and plantain or pounded yam and plantain, or pounded cocoyam/taro
  • Banku/Akple– cooked fermented corn dough and cassava dough
  • Kenkey/Dokonu – fermented corn dough, wrapped in corn or plantain leaves and cooked into a consistent solid balls
  • Tuo Zaafi – a maize dish from northern Ghana
  • Fonfom – a maize dish of the Ahanta and Nzema people in Southern Ghana
  • Konkonte – from cassava powder
  • Gari – made from cassava
  • Omo Tuo – pounded rice staple of northern origins.
  • Waakye – rice and beans
  • Jollof rice

  • Cooked plain rice with stew

Tilapia, fried whitebait (chinam), smoked fish and crayfish are all common components of Ghanaian dishes. The cornmeal based staples, banku and kenkey are usually accompanied by some form of fried fish (chinam) or grilled tilapia and a very spicy condiment made from raw red and green chillies, onions and tomatoes (pepper sauce. Banku and tilapia is a very popular combo served in most Ghanaian restaurants.

Other popular dishes include ampesie (boiled yam and unripe plantain) which is usually accompanied with kontomire, groundnut (peanut) soup, or nyadowa (garden egg stew).

An alternative to the starch and stew combination is "Red Red", a very popular and easy to find dish. It is a bean stew served with fried ripe plantain. It earns its name from the palm oil that tints the stew and the bright orange color of the fried plantain.

Soups and stews

Most Ghanaian dishes are served with a stew or soup. Ghanaian stews and soups are quite sophisticated with liberal and adventurous use of exotic ingredients and a wide variety of flavors, spices and textures. Spices such as thyme, garlic, ginger and bay leaf; vegetables such as wild mushroom, garden eggs (egg plant), tomatoes and various types of pulses; beef, pork, goat, sheep, chicken, smoked meat and fish; crab, shrimp, periwinkles, octopus; bushmeat, snails, and duck; offal, trotters and cow skin are all featured in Ghanaian cuisine.

Palm oil, coconut oil, shea butter, palm kernel oil and peanut oil are important local oils used for cooking and frying. In certain stews, palm oil is the preferred oil for preparing it. Classic examples are okro stew, fante fante,[1] red red, egusi stew and mpihu / mpotompoto (taro porridge).[2] Coconut oil, palm kernel oil and shea butter were used for frying most local fried foods. However with the introduction of refined oils and negative media adverts targeted at these local oils, their use have become less popular. They are mostly used in few traditional homes, for soap making and by commercial food vendors to cut down cost on using the refined vegetable oils.

The most popular soups are groundnut soup,[3] light (tomato) soup,[3] kontomire (taro leaves) soup, palmnut soup[4] and okra soup. Tomato stew or gravy is a popular stew which is often served with rice. Other vegetable stews are made with kontomire, garden eggs, egusi (pumpkin seeds), spinach, okra, etc. mixed with any protein of one's choice.

Usually rice is served with a soup or stew, kenkey is served with fried fish and hot pepper while banku is usually served with okra stew or soup and occasionally with tilapia. Fufu, akple and konkonte are served with soup.

Breakfast meals

Most of the popular dishes mentioned above are often served during lunch and supper in modern Ghana. However, it is not uncommon to find traditionally agrarian communities having these meals before farm work in the morning.In large cities, working class people would often take tea, cocoa drink, oats, rice porridge (locally called rice water), kooko (fermented maize porridge) and koose/akara or maasa (rice and maize meal fritters). Other breakfast foods include ekuegbemi, oblayo(maize porridge), tombrown (roasted maize porridge) and millet porridge.

Bread is an important feature in Ghanaian breakfast and baked foods. Ghanaian bread which is known for its good quality in West Africa is baked with wheat flour and sometimes cassava flour is added for an improved texture. There are four types of bread in Ghana. They are tea bread (similar to the baguette), sugar bread which is a sweet bread, brown (whole wheat) bread and butter bread.[5]

Savory foods

There are many savory local foods which have been marginalized due to their demand and preparation process. Ghanaian savory foods may be fried, barbequed, boiled,roasted, baked or steamed.

Some popular fried savoury foods include cubed and spiced ripe plantain (kelewele) sometimes served with peanuts. Koose ( also called Acarajé or akara), maasa,[6][7] pinkaaso,[8] atsomo and bofrot (made from wheat flour); kuli-kuli,[9] zowey and nkate cake (made from peanuts$2);[10] krakro and tatale[11] (ripe plantain fritters); kube cake and kube toffee (made from coconut); bankye krakro gari biscuit[12][13] and krakye ayuosu (made from cassava); condensed milk toffee, plantain chips and wagashi[14] (fried farmer's cheese) are all fried local savory foods which are popular in some areas.

Kebabs are also popular barbecues and can be made from beef, goat, pork, soy flour, sausages and guinea fowl. Other roasted savoury foods include roasted plantain, maize, yam and cocoyam.

Steamed fresh maize, Abolo, Yakeyake, Kafa, Akyeke, tubani / moimoi (bean cake) and emo dokonu (rice cake) and esikyire dokonu (sweetened kenkey) are all examples of steamed and boiled foods whilst sweet bread, epitsi (plantain cake), ayigbe biscuit and meat pie similar to Jamaican patties or empanada are baked savoury foods.

Aprapransa, eto (mashed yam) and atadwe milk (tiger nut juice) are other savory foods which may undergo a combination of processes.

Beverages

Ghanahas a wide variety of local beverages which pertain to various communities. In the south, local drinks such as asaana (made from fermented maize) are common. In the Volta and Ashanti regions, palm wine extracted from the palm tree can be found, but it spoils quickly. It is much easier to find akpeteshie, a local gin distilled from palm wine, as it is nonperishable and highly potent. In addition, a beverage can be made from kenkey and refrigerated into what is locally known as iced kenkey. Among northern communities, fula, bokina, bisaab / sorrel, toose and lamujee (a spicy sweetened drink) are common non alcoholic beverages whereas pitoo (a local gin made of fermented millet) is an alcoholic beverage.In urban areas cocoa drinks, fresh coconuts, yogurt, ice cream, carbonated drinks, malt drinks and soy milk are popular.[15][16] In addition, Ghanaian distilleries produce good quality alcoholic beverages from cocoa, malt, sugar cane, local medicinal herbs and tree barks. They include bitters, liqueur, dry gins, beer, and aperitifs.[17][18]

Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in GHANA

The land of many lakes, hills and forests, there are many places to visit in Ghana for its tourists. There a little of everything for people visiting Ghana. There's adventure for the adventure craze, beautiful scenic nature for the soft romantic souls, various wildlife and sanctuaries for the animal lovers and various types of local and western cuisine for the foodies. One must visit all the interesting places to visit in Ghana while exploring the land. 

Mole National Park is situated 170km west of Tamale in the West Gonja District. While on a trip to Ghana one must take this scenic ride to Mole which is even quite adventurous. It's the largest Ghanaian National Parks in the heart of the Guinea savannah woodland ecosystem. One of the popular places to visit in Ghana, its home to 93 different mammalian species, 9 amphibians, 33 reptiles and an estimated 300 birds species. Some of the mammals include elephants; roam antelopes, waterbucks, hartebeests, buffalo and some warthogs. 

Aburi Botanic Garden is situated on the Akwapim ridge and is about 39 km north-east of Accra along the old Accra Koforidua road. It's the most beautiful, peaceful and fascinating places in Ghana and also the world's 1,600 botanic gardens. One of the important places to visit in Ghana, it grows the largest array of plant diversity outside nature and receive over 150 million visitors every year. The silk cotton tree or 'ceiba pentrandra' is one of the largest trees in West Africa. It grows to a height of 48m and is one of the sacred trees of West Africa. 



Wli Water Falls is the highest waterfall in West Africa, located 45 minutes from Ho Hoe town, in the Volta. This magnificent fall cascading down from a height of 60-80m holds one spellbound and in awe. One of the popular places to visit in Ghana, it's a 45 minute walk, through an awesome rain forest on a beaten path. A heaven on earth the walk through the forest is among large colony of fruit bats, butterflies, birds, monkeys and baboons is a spectacular experience. 



The Famous Larabanga Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in West Africa and also in Ghana. Though a rare structure, it must be renovated after every heavy rain due to the damage caused to its mud walls. These yearly renovations cost up to $1,000 and in spite of the government providing monetary assistance to keep up the mosque, its not always enough money to do the job well. Tourists while exploring Ghana visit this place of historical value. 



The Accra Beaches are some of the famous beaches in Ghana and also to some extent Africa. With its tropical climate and beautiful environmental conditions it's quite ideal for tourists to laze round in this tropical beauty. The most seductive of all beaches are the Labadi Beach, Coco Beach and the Kokrobite Beach. These picturesque beaches with breathtaking background are equipped a restaurant and even lodging for the tourists to enjoy.


Taken from:http://www.123independenceday.com/ghana/places.html

Doing business in GHANA

Ghanais a Low Income Economy. 30% of Ghana's population are living on less than $1.25 per day in addition of 46% living on less than $2 per day, and a rate of 25% youth unemployment.[44]

Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has more than twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa.[45] Known for its gold in colonial times, Ghana remains one of the world's top gold producers.[46] Other exports such as cocoa, crude oil, natural gas, timber, electricity, diamond, bauxite,[47] and manganese are major sources of foreign exchange, even though Ghana continues to experience electricity and gas shortages, and remains a developing nation after 55 years of independence from the declining British Empire.[48]

Since 2001 to present many of Ghana's national companies handling the natural resources of Ghana have been sold off for a mere pittance during the former-President of GhanaJohn Agyekum Kufuor and the John Atta Mills led governments, in which former military ruler Jerry John Rawlings during his 20 years rule of Ghana sold off more than half of government-owned enterprises established by Ghana's first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.[49] Typical among these is the sell off of Ghana's entire gold reserves[50] and drinking water by John Agyekum Kufuor in 2002.[51]

At the end of December 2011, Ghana's – Total External debt has escalated to an all time high of $18 billion (GH¢ 23.4 billion) up from $8 billion (GH¢ 8.8 billion) at the end of December 2008. Ghana's debt was at US$1 billion in 1966 by an Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah led government and Ghana was among the wealthiest and most socially advanced areas in Africa, which in the 1960s Ghana had a per capita income comparable to South Korea’s,[52] then the debt significantly increased from US$1 billion to $7.5 billion during Jerry John Rawlings 20 years rule of Ghana, which ended in 2001.[53] The escalation of unnecessary borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and creditors by successive governments have put a burden of debt on future generations of Ghanaians.[53] Typical among these is the borrowing of $3 billion in December 2011 by John Atta Mills from China Development Bank in exchange of oil from Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to the China crude oil Off-Takers for an undisclosed fee to offset the loan, despite objections from an overwhelmingly majority of the Parliament of Ghana and the IMF, as the loan would cause a net drain of Ghana's oil wealth to China and put Ghana at risk of default.[54]

Successive governments still succumb to unnecessary foreign aid from the United States and European nations. Such as the additional support from January 2012, by the European Commission of €52 million (GH¢ 110 million) to reduce maternal mortality and achieve the MDG 5 targets, in which Ghana can independently achieve without foreign aid donations.[55]

Ghana’s labour force in 2008 totalled 11.5 million people.[56][56] The economy continues to rely heavily on agriculture which accounts for 37.3% of GDP and provides employment for 56% of the work force,[56] mainly small landholders. Manufacturing is only a small part of the Ghanaian economy totalling 7.9% of Gross Domestic Product in 2007.[57] 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 $1.5 billion housing contract to STX Corporation of South Korea.[58]

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. Even so, Ghana remains one of the more economically sound countries in all of Africa.

In July 2007, the Bank of Ghana 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 [56] The value added tax 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.[59]

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 and wide use of English make the country an attractive entrypoint to West Africa for foreigners. UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle, national parks such as Kakum National Park and Mole National Park, as well as cultural celebrations such as Panafest are major centres of tourist activity.

Taken from wikipedia

GHANA: useful links

www.ghanaweb.com

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13433790

www.ghana.gov.gh/

www.lonelyplanet.com/ghana

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