Country overview & natural area
Five natural geographical zones structure the diverse landscape: In the dry north and in the Volta Basin, the sand of the Sahara can already be felt, while the Volta Delta, the Volta Reservoir and the rainy Akan Plain form the humid southern coastal regions on the Gulf of Guinea shape. In between are the Ashanti highlands, the Kwahu plateau and the Akwapim-Togo threshold.
History & State
The history of Ghana is closely linked to the mighty Kingdom of Asante and its fight against British colonization, the rise of Ghana under the charismatic leader Kwame Nkrumah to become the voice of Africa, the decline and chaos in the 1970’s, the Jerry Rawlings phenomenon and the rediscovery and acceptance of democratic principles and rules.
Economy & Development
Gold mining, cocoa cultivation and logging dominate the still agrarian economy. The significant reduction in poverty as one of the SDG goals seems achievable. The started oil and gas production off the coast in the west of the country signals a new era, although it is still completely open whether this resource will turn out to be a blessing or a curse.
Society & culture
Tradition and modernity go hand in hand. Here the Parliament and the President with cell phones and the Internet. There the kings and chiefs, who reflect the ethnic and linguistic diversity of the country, who maintain historical memory and traditional religions and deities in a Christian-dominated society in which a minority belongs to the Muslim faith.
Everyday & Practical Information
Here you will find all the important information about immigration and other useful tips so that you can make your stay in hospitable Ghana as successful and pleasant as possible.
Foreign trade and national debt
As one of 16 countries located in Western Africa according to clothesbliss, Ghana now has ‘lower middle income status’, which indicates the positive changes in the country in the otherwise crisis-prone West African sub-region. Ghana’s foreign trade is concentrated in South Africa, the EU, China, India, the USA and Vietnam. The trade with neighboring countries is still modest, but there are now efforts to increase trade. Both trade and current accounts are negative. Almost half of the agricultural and mining products (cocoa, precious woods, gold, ores, crude oil), in roughly equal proportions, go to South Africa and the EU. India, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam follow at a considerable distance. In contrast, most imports (machinery and finished goods) come from the EU, followed by imports from China and the USA. India and South Africa follow a long way behind. The German export industry, represented by the economic development agency Germany Trade & Invest and the Chambers of Commerce Abroad, named Ghana alongside Nigeria one of the top export markets in West Africa.
Internal and external public debt was around 63% of GDP at the end of 2019, which corresponds to a total of US $ 34 billion. Half of this is external debt, which means annual debt servicing of around US $ 2.4 billion. The constantly high budget deficits also create structural distortions, which in turn lead to profound cuts in the living conditions of the large majority of the population. The 2019 budget deficit was six to seven percent, a deficit that is also expected for the current year 2020. Economic growth, which was more than six percent in 2019, is more encouraging, and the inflation rate was also in the upper single-digit range.
Kejetia Market in Kumasi
Ghana has always been famous for its Kente fabrics, which used to be reserved for a small upper class. Today, however, Ghanaians from all walks of life use these expensive fabrics almost exclusively for special celebrations. Towards the end of each year, the Ashanti region hosts the Bonwire Festivalinstead, which commemorates the invention and further development of the Kente fabrics. The Kente fabrics are also very popular in the large West African diaspora in Great Britain and the USA. One of the leading Ghanaian manufacturers is Akosombo Textiles, but it has been challenged by inexpensive counterfeits from China for some time. The cooperation with the economic power China, which has been growing for years, now shows the downsides more clearly than before. This is especially true for the Ghanaian textile industry. Because it is becoming more and more difficult to fight off the Chinese competition who are masters of product piracy and offers the copies, which are barely recognizable for the consumer, well below the usual prices. But now the Ghanaian government has reacted and one has set up a special commission with the mandate to confiscate and destroy counterfeit textiles. It is controversial whether these measures produce sustainable effects in favor of the Ghanaian textile industry. This is why Ghanaian companies try to detect counterfeits with the help of GoldKeys technology. A multi-digit code that is incorporated into the brand logo is intended to ensure that both retailers and buyers can check whether it is an original or a fake. All you need to do is send the code via SMS to a free telephone number, which in turn immediately affirms or denies the authenticity.