Ghana is ready for a rebound.
Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast, was the first sub-Saharan African nation to gain independence from European colonization and is now considered one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. Ghana’s freedom of press and speech are consistently ranked among the top three on the continent. Similarly, Ghana’s economy is one of the strongest and most diversified in the region, bolstered by vast natural resources and productive agriculture.
- Independence, with Kwame Nkrumah instated as the first prime minister.
- Ghana joins the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), established to promote economic trade, cooperation, and self-reliance among West African nations.
- After a long series of destabilizing military coups, Lt. Jerry Rawlings takes power and bans political parties. His conservative economic policies prove effective and Rawlings is later elected (and re-elected) in subsequent elections.
- A referendum approves a new Constitution and multi-party politics are restored.
- Major off-shore oil reserves discovered along Ghana’s coast.
- Production begins at Jubilee, Ghana’s offshore oil field, fueling one of Africa’s fast-growing economy.
- Ghana signs a $918 million credit facility with the IMF to help address fiscal woes.
Demographic + Economic Overview
Ghana is ethnically, linguistically and religiously diverse. Literacy among adults is 77%, and while English is the official language of the country, numerous other languages and dialects are spoken amongst the Ghanaian people.
- Income Level Classification:
- Lower Middle
- Higher Middle
Until recently, Ghana was seen as a model for African growth and political reform, but a growing public deficit, high inflation levels and a slumping currency have left the country facing economic austerity, growing public dissatisfaction, and a worsening energy crisis. A rebound is anticipated in the medium term, with the World Bank forecasting GDP growth to increase to 8.2% by 2018F, versus a 2015E level of 3.4%. This recovery is anticipated to be on the back of increased oil and gas production, combined with increased private sector and public infrastructure investments.
Nearly a quarter of Ghana’s GDP comes from agriculture and almost half of the workforce is employed in the sector. Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa and other major agriculture crops include rice, cassava, peanut, corn, and shea nuts. Additionally, Ghana is rich in natural resources: it is Africa’s second-largest producer of gold and has the fifth largest oil and sixth largest natural gas reserves. Oil was forecasted to become increasingly integral to the Ghanian economy, however, the recent global crash in oil prices gutted Ghana’s predicted 2015 oil revenue and the future is unknown.