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The national flag of the Republic Of Ghana 


The Coat-Of-Arms for the Republic Of Ghana

The Republic Of Ghana is located in West Africa, as one of the countries along the coastline of the Gulf Of Guinea. Specifically, it is located between Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Burkina Faso.

 A map of the Republic Of Ghana


It’s population stands at around 24 million people, and is a colourful mix of West African tribal groups, the most commonly found of which are the Ashanti, Ewe, Fanti, and Ga (to name a few). While English is the official language of Ghana, the majority of people speak tribal dialects (for example, most Ghanaians living in Accra speak Twi (pronounced ‘Chree’)).



Today, Ghana has a democratic government & free elections, both of which are closely modelled on the American system of government. The current republic came into being in 1992, and was hard-fought after many years of instability, particularly in the 1960s & 1970s, when several coups & attempted coups stalled the country's development. In contemporary times, Ghana has recovered from this period well, and is one of the stalwart nations of the African continent. Free of the war & upheaval that has plagued many contries on the dark continent, Ghana's stability, and an economy that benefits from strongly performing exports such as gold, cocoa, diamonds, timber, and even electricity (courtesy of the Akosombo Dam project, which is a source of power for not only Ghana, but it's neighbouring countries), has seen it emerge as a promising country for investment, as well as a beautiful & interesting land to visit.


The overwhelming majority of Ghana’s population is of African descent, and indeed, other racial groups make up less than 0.5% of the population. The most common non-African racial groups living in Ghana are primarily Lebanese, Indian, or Chinese, plus a resident population largely made up of ex-patriot Westerners. Most of these racial groups are heavily engaged in business, particularly industry, finance, and production, particularly in Accra. Despite this, it is still somewhat of a rarity to see other racial groups in Ghana, and a non-African visitor can expect to receive the perennial cat-call - Obroni (or "Yevoo" in the Volta Region) !!!


The region has had a rich history both prior to & after settlement by foreign powers. The region was under the colonial administration of several settling countries during the 17th & 18th Century, and the Dutch, English, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, and Germans found themselves establishing trading camps. This period was marked by the plunder of resources by these trading countries, and the proliferation of the brutal slave trade. By the late 19th Century, the English had emerged from this group to form the British colony known as The Gold Coast.   The English would go on to rule under a colonial administration until 1957, when the pan-African leader, Dr Kwame Nkrumah managed to deliver the independent Ghana from colonialism after many years of perseverance, both as an activist, then as a Prime Minister. In 1960, Ghana became a republic, however, Nkrumah’s popularity began to wane as the new country plunged into economic & social despair. In 1966, a coup took place, removing Nkrumah, but despite the country attempting to return to constitution within three years, this quickly failed, and the country stayed under control of the military for much of the next twenty years, despite some notable attempts to return to democracy. In 1992, Ghana returned to constitution, this time apparently for good, and there has since been three transfers of power, the most recent in the 2008 Presidential Election, which saw John Atta Mills become President of Ghana in a closely-fought election. For much of it’s independent history, Ghana suffered from a dire economic plight, and the country didn’t fully recover from the financial situation left in the wake of Nkrumah’s overthrow, as successive governments either failed to make significant inroads into paying off the country’s debts, or in fact contributed further to the economic woes. However, after returning to constitution in 1992, Ghana’s fortunes began to turn, as trade conditions & inflation steadily improved, as did the country’s gross domestic product. Ghana’s main commodities, cocoa & gold, continue to trade well, and recently discovered oil reserves, which are soon to be tapped, add to the country’s other mineral & agricultural exports. However, the gulf between rich & poor is typical of many African countries. The capital, Accra, is an extreme mixture of districts that range from the upper echelon, such as Airport Residential, Kanda, Cantonments, and Legon, to poorer boroughs such as Nima, Accra New Town, Pig Farm, and Ashaiman. The average Ghanaian of limited means is likely to either sleep rough, or live in low cost housing in the poorer districts of cities, or may still live in one of the villages outside of the major centers. Such housing is likely to have minimal appliances, except perhaps for some basic kitchen pieces, and possibly a television of dubious age & quality. While most people tend to own a mobile phone in the cities, most of this socio-economic group will not be likely to access internet facilities, and their income generally will gravitate around the international poverty line. Many of these people are small-time street traders and hawkers, and so while not completely unemployed, are not undertaking any regulated method of employment. The bulk of Ghanaians that will be likely to be encountered by foreign contacts will be part of the middle class of Ghana. While the lower-middle class are likely to be a mixture of unskilled labourers, drivers, and small-time business owners, police, & teachers, they may still have enough income to regularly access internet facilities, and may even own or have access to a modest vehicle. Their housing will likely be in average units or apartments, with some common appliances & televisions, and even DVD. The upper-middle class, made up largely of civil servants, business owners, military personnel, shop owners, and skilled workers, are more likely to have regular internet access, possibly from their own PC or laptop, and quite possibly, their own internet connection (possibly broadband). They are also likely to own a vehicle in above-average condition. This group are likely to own their own homes, with a reasonable amount of major appliances, and have at least some disposable cash for luxury items & entertainment.

The wealthy of Accra are people that are likely to be traders, large-scale business owners, management/CEOs, professionals, and those placed in the higher echelon of government. Typically, they will own their own homes of varying sizes, or may live in secure compounds or even serviced apartments. They are likely to own at least one excellent quality car, perhaps even a modern luxury car, and will almost certainly have excellent internet access. Their homes will have luxury appliances (even perhaps the ultra-rare dishwasher !), and are likely to be able to afford overseas travel perhaps one or more times per year.

 Much of this class system will be replicated throughout major centres in the country. Outside of the cities, village life has changed little since pre-independence times, and remains tribal in nature.    National literacy stands at about 65%, and Ghana’s school enrolments are amongst the strongest in West Africa. Ghana also has eight universities, and several polytechnics. There is a certain disparity between those living in the cities, and those living outside of the major centers, especially in regards to tertiary studies.Religion rates very highly to the average Ghanaian, with over 65% of the population identifying as Christian, while anywhere between 15-30% identifying as Muslim, and the remaining 5% either practice other religions, or are agnostic/atheist. Most Ghanaians attend regularly church services, with many attending on more than one occasion a week. Relatively few Ghanaians are agnostic/atheist, and a large percentage would consist of either returnees (Ghanaians who have lived abroad and then returned), or those with foreign lineage that have taken up residence/citizenship in Ghana. Health care is largely provided by the government, with the major centers playing host to a vast array of clinics & hospitals. Rural areas are less likely to have access to modern medicines & treatment, and in the villages, traditional methods often prevail. In major centers, life-threatening illnesses or emergency surgery is likely to be treated by the public facilities, generally without any up-front costs. Elective, or non-life threatening treatment will often require up-front payment, although some clinics do have a form of credit where patients will be allowed to get immediate treatment, and settle the bill later.  

The average Ghanaian is likely to utilize various forms of low-cost transport, the most popular being tro-tros & taxis. Tro-tros are generally a form of van that has been retro-fitted with bench seats, and can often seat more than a dozen passengers. For set tolls, users are able to travel along the tro-tro’s route, elected when to enter & exit the vehicle. Taxis are also common, but often shared taxis are used, where a driver accepts multiple passengers into his taxi, and as with a tro-tro, allows passengers to enter & exit on demand. Taxis can also be hired outright, with the fare negotiated prior to the commencement of the journey. In major cities, inexpensive government buses have started to be employed, and have slowly become accepted as a mode of transport, despite not having designated timetables (the drivers simply plough the route until the end of their shift).

A national coach service, Intercity/STC exists, which not only services most of Ghana’s major towns & cities, but also some international road routes throughout West Africa.

The national railway system is quite small, and only two lines extend out of the Greater Accra Region (to Kumasi & Sekondi-Takoradi). Until recently, local passenger trains only ran three times a day in Accra, but the government is starting to look at the potential of train travel to ease the burden on Ghana’s roads, and in 2010, updated passenger carriages were purchased, and the line from Accra-Sakumono was extended as far as the port city of Tema, with an improved passenger service announced.

Ghana has two major domestic airlines that link Accra to regional centers such as Takoradi, Kumasi, and Tamale which run flights out of Kotoka International Airport, CiTylink & Antrak Air. Domestic air travel is quite expensive, and is usually exclusively used for business, or by tourists & locals with an adequate means of income. At present, Ghana has only one international airline - Ghana International Airlines - however, in 2010, the Ghanaian government announced it's desire to re-establish Ghana Airways, which was the national carrier until 2004, when it's ageing fleet went into liquidation.






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Copyright © 2006 S. A. DeCaro
Last Updated ( Friday, 24 December 2010 )