Ghana – a bit of background

Just thought a bit of background to Ghana might be useful:

Population of 23.8 million  (UK 61.6 million)

Area: 23,533 sq km (UK 242900 sq km)

UN Human Development Index ranking 135 out of 187 (UK 28)

Capital city is Accra with a pop. of 2.3 million (London has 8.6 million)

Official language is English but there are 75 spoken languages and numerous ethnic groups.

Ghana was formerly known as ‘The Gold Coast’  and was the first in Africa to gain independence from a colonial power (the British!). In the middle ages the Ashanti kingdom was producing the most beautiful golden objects which it traded across the rest of Africa and elsewhere. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to trade with the Ghanian kingdoms. Other European powers quickly followed to trade in gold, but also in slaves. The British claimed Ghana in 1874 but wars continued into the early 1900s. Independence was declared in 1957.

Ghana became heavily in debt due to the Volta Dam project (the Akosombo dam) which was due to give the country electricity as well as supplying the massive American aluminium smelter electricity. In reality most of the electricity went to the smelter which had priority and little went into the Ghanaian grid. Much of the debt was written off under the Jubilee 2000 debt relief programme. Since then Ghana has found oil and developed the Jubilee Oil Field. It borrowed against future oil prospects to build new infrastructure. Unfortunately as the price of oil has fallen on world markets, Ghana finds itself once again in debt.

Ghana is a stable democracy. It ranks well in terms of corruption, coming in at number 5 of the least corrupt states in Africa.

It is keen to develop its tourist industry as it has beautiful beaches and lush rainforest. It’s the second largest producer of cocoa world wide.

Now on with some packing!


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