Today’s Ghana owes its name to the kingdom of Ghana, which was located in the north-western Sahel in the Middle Ages. Arab sources say that the fame of the legendary empire, about which otherwise little is concrete, was known even in Baghdad. The state founder of modern Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, seized the opportunity and created a myth with the renaming of the Gold Coast in Ghana, which continues to have an effect today. Because the naming, which served as a return to a pre-colonial civilization, was a strong symbol to show the world that the colonial era was finally coming to an end. The neighboring countries of Côte d’Ivoire in the west, Burkina Faso in the north and Togo in the east only became sovereign a few years later.
Alphabetized adults: 71.5%
Major religions: Christianity 70%, Islam (Sunni / Ahmadiya) approx. 20%
Degree of urbanization: 56%
Life expectancy (female / male): 65/63 years (estimated 2018)
Gender Inequality Index: Rank 133 (of 162) (2018)
Number of births: 3.84 / woman
Infant mortality: 36/1000 live births (2018)
Women are de facto disadvantaged in Ghanaian society. This applies both to the enforcement of alimentation claims (approx. 60% according to information from the CHRAJ) and to protection against domestic violence. In rural areas, traditional chiefs law often applies, which significantly disadvantages women, especially in relation to civil status law (marriage, polygamy, inheritance). Marital rape is not a criminal offense. Female genital mutilation (prevalence 4-5) as well as forced and early marriages (one fifth of under 18-year-olds and 5% of under 15-year-olds marry or are married) take place particularly in underdeveloped and rural parts of the country.
In Ghana, one of 16 countries located in Western Africa according to computerannals, around 5% of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 are affected by the harmful traditional practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). German development cooperation is also dedicated to the serious problem of genital mutilation. In rural areas there are still suspicions of witchcraft directed against women and vigilante justice, which often force women to leave their hometowns. Even the self-determination of women with regard to unwanted pregnancies and relationships to be desired. Nevertheless, the socio-economic position of women improved under the fourth republic; their number in government and political leadership positions rose. Charlotte Osei headed the electoral commission from 2015 to mid-2018, then was replaced by Jean Mensa, Gloria Afua Akuffo was promoted to Justice Minister, Sophia Akuffo succeeded Georgina Wood as presiding judge at the Supreme Court in June 2017, and Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey became president Akufo-Addo appointed foreign minister. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Protection tries to improve the protection of women and children and to increase the presence of women in the public service. Nevertheless, women are severely underrepresented in parliament and in administration. The 2018 Gender Inequality Index in the Human Development Report, Ghana ranks 133rd out of 162 countries examined. But meanwhile there are also opposing tendencies like the film “Ama’s world, the new Ghana” shows. However, this generally positive development does not apply to people who describe themselves as lesbian, gay, bi, trans, inter or queer (LGBTIQ).
For some time, however, a series has been causing a sensation in Ghana and internationally. It is based on the success story of the US production “Sex and the City” and is at the same time an African answer to this series, written, played and produced by Ghanaian US-Americans. Adapted to Ghanaian conditions, five women tell each other their changing relationship stories in “An African City”. It’s about sex, fashion, everyday life, and the leading actresses inspire an ever-growing audience, not only among women. The men come and go, the protagonists remain, a picture that is still largely unfamiliar in African societies.
Ghana is a multi-ethnic country
Ghana is a multi-ethnic country in which the Akan peoples in central Ghana and in the southwest, the Mole-Dagbani in the north and the Ewe living in the border area with Togo make up about three quarters of the population, with the Akan peoples dominating with almost 50%. The other main groups include the Ga-Adangbe, who live in the greater Accra area and in the southeast, and the Guan, Gurma, Grusi, and Mande-Busanga, all of which can be found in the northern parts of the country. The approximately 70 languages almost all of them belong to the Niger-Congo language strain. Only the Chadian language Hausa is part of the Afro-Asiatic tribe. Hausa is widespread as a lingua franca in the underdeveloped north and among the so-called ‘Zongos’ in metropolitan areas such as Accra and Kumasi. These districts are the destination and center of poorer classes, mostly Muslim migrants from the north and immigrants from the neighboring Sahel countries. Accordingly, Islam is particularly strongly represented here, in the midst of a Christian-dominated environment, which occasionally causes social conflicts with religious undertones even in the relatively low-conflict metropolitan area of Accra.