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 29.4 million people 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),etc. 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 (a 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 (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 so many socio-economic problems.
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 which is very bad considering Ghana's reputation as a "lower middle-income" country. Most "lower middle-income" and "middle-income" countries in the world today invest more in education because education is what powers economies into the next stages.
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 government regulations, poor market facilities, poor farming practices, poor climatic conditions in some areas, etc. continue to keep millions of people (especially rural farmers) in absolute poverty.
Ghana is the second leading producer of cocoa beans in the world (producing about 900 thousand tons a year). However, this major cash crop sometimes meet lower prices at the international market. Also, the state institution in charge of cocoa production and distribution, the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), is one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. It may surprise you to know that the salary of the CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board is more than twice that of the president of Ghana. In other words, those corrupt executives in charge of cocoa production and distribution in Ghana benefit the most from Ghana's cocoa. The poor farmers who toil days and nights in cocoa plantations across the country are left with nothing but poverty and despair.
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. This 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. Previous governments and NGOs 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 most communities in Ghana still do not have access to good drinking water and water for domestic purposes.
Inadequate power (electricity) supply in the big cities and towns and the total lack of it in many rural and sub-urban communities across the country, remain a major problem in Ghana today. Most communities in Ghana are yet to benefit from the national grid (powered by the Akosombo dam). Most towns and communities across the country lack power supply and depend mostly on portable generators, batteries, torchlights, kerosene lamps, etc. Even in the big cities and towns covered by the national grid, there is inadequate power supply, an everyday problem locally referred to as "Dumsor". "Dumsor" remains a major problem even in accra, the capital of Ghana.
Youth education, especially girl-child and sex education in Ghana, is helping a lot in breaking the cycle of new HIV/AIDS infections. However, more help is needed especially in the rural and sub-urban areas where illiteracy rate remains very high. According to UNAIDS, there were more than 290,000 adults and children living with HIV in Ghana in 2016 with over 20,000 newly infected cases. Ghana recorded more than 15,000 HIV/AIDS related deaths in 2016 with the number expected to rise in coming years unless more and more infected people receive antiretroviral treatment. Ghana's HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate currently hovers around 1.6% with over 270,000 children orphaned due to AIDS. The sad thing is that, many of those living with the virus don't even have access to antiretroviral treatment.
Just like in most other African countries today, poor governance and rampant corrupton continue to hit Ghana from all corners, leaving the average Ghanaian with nothing but poverty and despair. Almost every political figure in Ghana today is corrupt in one way or the other.