Ghana is situated in West Africa, and was formerly a British colony known as the Gold Coast. It was the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence from its colonial rulers in 1957.
Ghana has a total land area of 238,537 km2. Its capital city is Accra, while other major cities include Kumasi, Tema, Tamale and Sekondi-Takoradi. Ghana has a tropical climate and a population of approximately 24 million.
English is the official language of Ghana and is universally used in schools. Traditional religions are adhered to by more than 20% of the population while Christianity has been adopted by approximately 60%, and Muslim beliefs by about 16% of the population.
Natural resources include gold, timber, diamonds, bauxite and manganese, while agricultural products include cocoa, rubber, coconuts, coffee, pineapples, cashews, pepper and other food crops. Ghana’s industries are dominated by mining, timber processing, light manufacturing, fishing, aluminium production and tourism.
The country has a long history of gold mining and exploration. Gold represents Ghana’s major export commodity, providing approximately 50% of GDP. Ghana is the world’s 10th and Africa’s 2nd largest producer of gold, with current production estimated at in excess of 2.4Moz per annum. High gold prices have resulted in a recent significant increase in expenditure on gold exploration in Ghana.
Ghana has been a producer of gold since the 16th century and today boasts one of the largest and richest reserves of gold in the world. The Ghanaian gold mining industry is a relative success story in the government’s attempts to turn the fledgling economy around. The gold sector followed the countries general trend of economic stagnation during the 1970s and, by the early 1980s, was starved of foreign investment to modernize and improve output. However, following the government’s policies of market liberalization aimed at increasing foreign investment, the industry was turned around, and gold output now exceeds 2.4Moz per annum.
A number of the world’s largest gold companies are either producing or exploring within the country and several new multi million ounce goldmines are currently planned for development ensuring Ghana’s ongoing role as one of Africa’s leading gold producers.