Country Listing

Ghana Table of Contents



Despite improvements carried out in the 1980s under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ghana's telecommunications system continues to be one of the least developed in Africa. In 1994 the country counted about 50,000 telephones, or approximately 2.6 telephones per 1,000 people, one of the world's lowest figures. Telephone service is heavily concentrated in Accra, and even in the capital, only government offices, large commercial concerns, or wealthier households have telephone service. Domestic long-distance communications are carried over two radio-relay systems, one that extends east-west through the major coastal cities, and another that goes north from the capital to Burkina. International telecommunications, except to neighboring countries, are sent via a satellite ground station near Accra. This station, working with the International Telecommunications Satellite Corporation's (Intelsat) Atlantic Ocean Satellite, provides high-quality telephone, television, and data links to countries in Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Broadcast service is typical of African countries. The country has four amplitude modulation (AM) radio stations and one frequency modulation (FM) radio station. Three shortwave transmitters provide countrywide service: two for domestic reception that broadcast in English and six local languages, and one international transmitter that broadcasts in English, French, and Hausa. There are four (eight translators) television stations. Television transmitters are located at or near Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi, and Bolgatanga; eight low-power television repeaters are located in smaller cities. In 1993 the country had an estimated 4 million radio receivers and 250,000 television sets.

In 1992 the Ghanaian government approved the formation of a National Communications Commission. This organization undertakes numerous missions, including the promotion of research and development, improvement of communications, management of the radio frequency spectrum, and encouragement of private ownership in the telecommunications sector. Given Ghana's lack of resources and the difficulty of acquiring foreign aid, it is unlikely that the commission will make any significant improvements in the country's telecommunications system in the near future.

Data as of November 1994