Country Listing

Ghana Table of Contents



General Character: At independence, economy based on cocoa and gold; country relatively prosperous. After mid-1960s, economy stagnated, characterized by weak commodity demand, outmoded equipment, overvalued currency, smuggling, and foreign debt. Since 1983 Economic Recovery Program (a structural adjustment program) has resulted in new investment and rising exports of cocoa, gold, and timber, but also in high foreign debt and little improvement in standard of living.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): In 1992 GDP was US$6.1 billion; per capita income US$380.

Budget: In 1993 about 667 billion, including 119 billion deficit (roughly US$1.1 billion and US$187 million, respectively, based on mid-1993 exchange rate).

Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing: In 1991 agriculture most important sector of economy, constituting just under half of GDP, down from 60 percent in 1983. Production of exports and food crops fell steadily after mid-1960s; major recovery began in 1980s. Cocoa most important cash crop; Ghana world's third largest cocoa producer as of 1992-93 crop year. Other cash crops--palm oil, cotton, tobacco, sugarcane, rubber, and kenaf (used in fiber bags)- -much less important. Major food crops: yams, corn, cassava, and other root crops. Forests cover southern third of country. Commercial forestry major industry; deforestation serious problem. Livestock production negligible outside far north. Limited commercial fishing industry.

Industry: In 1960s largest manufacturing industries included aluminum, saw mills and timber processing, cocoa processing, breweries, cement, oil refining, textiles, and vehicle assembly. Factory output fell as low as 21 percent of capacity by 1982 but recovered to average of 40 percent in 1989. In early 1990s, many textile, pharmaceutical, leather, and electronics factories reportedly closed because of economic liberalization and foreign competition.

Mining: Major minerals are gold, bauxite, manganese, and diamonds. Mineral production fell precipitously during 1970s, recovered during 1980s. Minerals second highest export earner in early 1990s. Gold most important mineral, long associated with ancient and contemporary Ghana. Production in 1992 more than 1 million fine ounces and rising, surpassing cocoa as chief export earner. One of world's leading producers of manganese, but early 1990s production less than half mid-1970s output. Diamonds mostly industrial grade; 1992 production 694,000 carats and increasing. Large bauxite reserves little exploited.

Energy: Commercial quantities of petroleum offshore, but output negligible in early 1990s. Hydroelectric generating capacity nearly 1.2 megawatts, mostly at Akosombo Dam on Volta River; 60 percent consumed by Volta Aluminum Company, remainder consumed domestically or sold to Togo and Benin. Significant expansion planned. Northern regions being connected to national power grid.

Foreign Trade: Major exports--cocoa, gold, timber, and industrial diamonds--mainly to Germany, Britain, United States, and Japan. Major imports--capital goods, oil, consumer goods, and intermediate goods--mostly from Britain, Nigeria, United States, and Germany. Ghana's trade balance, negative since 1980s, estimated at -US$190 million for 1994.

External Debt: US$4.6 billion in 1993.

Currency and Exchange Rate: Cedi(), divided into 100 pesewas. In January 1995, US$1.00 = 1,035.

Fiscal Year: Calendar Year.

Data as of November 1994