The Republic of Ghana (or "Ghana" for short), is a beautiful West African country bordering 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 Atlantic Ocean(Gulf of Guinea) to the south.
Ghana has a total land area of about 238,53 squared kilometers (about 11,000sqkm of which is 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 31.5 million people with the population growth rate hovering around 2.2%. About 55% of Ghana's population lives in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Accra and Kumasi.
Accra, the capital of Ghana (with it's 12 municipal districts), has a metro area population of about 4.0 - 5.5 million people. Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region and the second largest city in Ghana, has metro area population of about 3.5 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), Koforidua (the capital of the Eastern region of Ghana),etc. also contain significant portions of the population.
Ghana (formerly known as Gold Coast) was the first Sub-Saharan African country to gain independence (from colonial rule). Ghana gained independence in 1957 from the United Kingdom and became a republic on July 1, 1960. Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world (by surface area), 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 on the continent.
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, 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 and human resources, Ghana just like its neighboring countries, is crippled by so many social, political, economic and developmental problems.
Ghana has a literacy rate of 79.1% for the total population with the female literacy rate hovering around 71.35%. In other words, about 79.1% of Ghana's population (above age 15) can at least read and write. Also, about 71.35% of Ghana's female population (above age 15) can at least read and write. Ghana has seen great improvement in its literacy rate. In fact, according to the World Bank, Ghana's literacy rate increased by about 7.54% between 2010 and 2018.
The over 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, continues to depend on foreign aid.
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 poverty and despair.
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 all day and night 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. This leaves the upper East, the upper west, and the Northern region of the country 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 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 electricity (grid) supply in the big cities and towns and the total lack of it in many rural and sub-urban communities across the country remains 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.
Ghana's free education program, adult education, sex education, girl-child education and other government and non-governmental programs are helping a lot in breaking the cycle of new HIV/AIDS infections. However, more help is needed especially in the rural and sub-urban communities 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. Many of those living with the virus don't even have access to antiretroviral treatment.
Just like in most other African countries today, poor government policies and rampant corruption continue to tear Ghana apart.