The Republic of Ghana or "Ghana" for short, is a West African country located along the Gulf of Guinea (the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean) between the Republics of Ivory Coast and Togo. Ghana borders the Republic of Burkina Faso to the north, the Republic of Togo to the east, the Republic of Ivory Coast to the West and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.
Ghana has a total land area of about 238,53 squared kilometers (about 11,000sq.km covered by water) with about 539km of coastline. Just about 20.7% of Ghana's total land area remains arable (land good for farming).
Ghana has an "estimated" population of 29 million people (as of 2017) with the population growth rate around 2.2%. About 55% of Ghana's population lives in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Accra the capital (Accra, the capital of Ghana, contains about 2.3 million people) and Kumasi the capital of the Ashanti region of Ghana (Kumasi contains about 1.8 million people). Other major towns and cities such as Tamale (the capital of the Northern region of Ghana), Sunyani (the capital of the Brong Ahafo region), Wa (the capital of the Upper West region), Bolgatanga (the capital of the Upper East region), Sekondi Takoradi (the capital of the Western region) and Koforidua (the capital of the Eastern region of Ghana) also contain significant portions of the population.
Ghana was the first Sub-Saharan African country to gain independence (from colonial rule). Ghana gained independence in 1957 from the United Kingdom. Ghana became a republic on July 1, 1960. Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world, is found in Ghana.
Ghana is one of the most culturally rich countries in all of Africa with a beautiful blend of several ethnic and racial groups living peacefully together. Ghana without a doubt, is one of the most peaceful countries in all of Africa. Akans (the most populous ethnic group in Ghana today) make up about 45.3% of the total population. Mole-Dagbon (the next major ethnic group) make up about 15.2% of the total population. The Ewes (another major ethnic group) make up about 11.7% of the total population followed by the Ga-Dangmes (about 7.3% of the population), the Guans (about 4% of the total population), the Gurmas (about 3.6% of the population), the Grusis (about 2.6% of the population), the Mande-Busangas (about 1% of the total population) with the several other minor groups forming the remaining fraction of the population.
Ghana has a literacy rate of about 75% for the total population with the female literacy rate hovering around 58%. In other words, just about 58% of the total population of females above the age 15 can read and write. Although Ghana's literacy rate is better than in neighboring countries, Ghana's literacy rate falls below expectations compared to several other African countries (Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, etc.)
Ghana (formerly known as Gold Coast) just like its neighboring countries, is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as gold, silver, manganese, bauxite, timber, petroleum, fish, rubber, salt, limestone, industrial diamonds, etc.
However, despite the abundance of natural resources, Ghana just like its neighboring countries, is crippled by several economic and social problems. In fact, a significant fraction of Ghana's population continues to wallow in extreme poverty and hunger despite Ghana's recent lower middle income status. Just like in most other African countries today, there is rampant corruption all across the country. Illiteracy levels (especially within the female population) remain very high in some corners of the country. Poor infrastructure and lack of educational facilities remain a huge problem especially in the rural and sub-urban areas.
The two decades of political stability in Ghana has helped the country a lot in almost all sectors of its economy. However, despite the significant improvement in agriculture and other sectors of the economy, Ghana like most African countries today continue to face so many developmental challenges. About 60 percent of the Ghanaian population is into Agriculture. Most farmers in Ghana like in most other African countries today, are subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families. However, lack of farming subsidies, poor farming practices, poor climatic conditions, etc. continue to keep millions of people in poverty and despair.
Ghana is the second leading producer of cocoa beans in the world (Ivory Coast is the current world's leading producer of cocoa beans). However, this major cash crop sometimes meet lower prices at the international market leaving most cocoa farmers in the rural areas with nothing but poverty and despair especially in times of crop failure.
Most villages and towns in Ghana today lack good drinking water, hospitals, basic sanitation ( lack of basic sanitation remains a major problem even in Accra the capital), quality education, etc.
The northern parts of Ghana unlike the rest of the country get very unpredictable levels of rainfall in a year which leaves the upper East, the upper west, and the Northern regions of Ghana mostly dry and dusty during much of the year which doesn't favor agriculture at all in most parts. Rainfall in the northern parts of Ghana is often unpredictable sometimes causing unpredictable flooding in some areas.
Lack of good drinking water was and remains a major problem in the upper regions of Ghana. The former president Jerry John Rawlings and the NDC government did great for some of these areas by providing them with boreholes and pipe-borne water which has helped a lot in the eradication of the guinea-worm and other water-borne diseases. However, great help is still needed because some areas still do not have access to good drinking water and water for domestic purposes.The NDC government under former president Rawlings also helped a lot in extending electricity to some of these areas. Once again, great help is needed because not all villages and towns in Ghana today have electricity and even where there is electricity, there is frequent power "cut-offs" (locally known as "dumsor"). "Dumsor" remains a major problem today even in the capital cities of Ghana.
Youth education especially girl-child and sex education in Ghana has helped a lot in breaking the cycle of new HIV/AIDS infections. In 2002, there were at least 260,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana with about 21,000 HIV/AIDS deaths recorded within the same year. These numbers have dropped a lot with the help of girl-child and sex education programs. Once again, more help is needed especially in the rural and sub-urban areas where girl-child education remains very poor.