At independence in 1957, Ghana had one of Africa's
strongest economies, but over the next 25 years it stagnated
as a result of neglect, corruption and falling world market
prices for cocoa. After the introduction of two economic
recovery programs in 1983-90 and a continued liberalization
of the economy during the 1990s, the economy began to
recover. Growth continued during the 1990s, thanks in large
part to high prices of gold and cocoa.
COUNTRYAAH, agriculture is the most important sector of Ghana's
economy. However, the country's role as a world-leading
cocoa producer has been taken over by Ivory Coast. In
addition to cocoa, gold, oil and timber are the most
important export products. Since oil began to be mined in
2010, the country's prospects have improved further.
Cocoa, which covers more than half of the cultivated
area, is the most important barley crop. The cultivations
are located mainly on the Ashanti and Kwahu plateaus. The
production of cocoa dropped sharply from the 1960s and
several decades ahead despite extensive new planting. The
causes of the decline were low and fluctuating world market
prices, internal organizational problems and the relatively
high age of cocoa trees. In addition, large parts of the
cocoa cultivations were destroyed due to fires in the early
1980s. Production recovered during the 1990s and during the
1990s it has been at record levels. Ghana is now one of the
world's three largest cocoa producers.
In addition to cocoa, the cultivation of food crops plays
a major role. Dominating are cassava, jams and flour
bananas. However, production does not respond to domestic
demand, which is why it is forced to import food crops from
About 20 percent of the country is covered by forest.
Large forest areas are located in the south-eastern part of
the country. In the 1960s, an export-oriented forest
industry was developed in Ghana. Production decreased from
about 1.4 million m 3 in the 1970s to about
500,000 m 3 in the mid-1980s, but has
subsequently recovered. The forest industry's expansion
during the 1990s has led to deforestation, but since 2009,
in an agreement with the EU, Ghana has undertaken to export
only legally harvested timber.
Fishing is important in the coastal area and in Lake
Volta. The theme is the most important fishing port,
followed by Elmina and Takoradi. The total catch is over
300,000 tonnes annually, of which the vast majority are
caught in the Atlantic. However, the catch volumes account
for only about half of the domestic demand, which is why
Ghana also imports fish.
Ghana has large deposits of gold, diamonds, manganese,
bauxite and other minerals. In the 1870s, modern gold mining
began; The Ashanti mine in Obuasi is one of the richest in
the world. For many years, gold has been Ghana's most
important export commodity; Minerals accounted for just over
1/3 of the country's export income, with gold alone
accounting for about 90 percent.
In 2010, mining began in the offshore Jubilee oil field
and oil exports have already contributed strongly to the
country's income and high economic growth. In addition,
there are natural gas deposits that have not yet begun to be
Before the Akosombo hydroelectric power plant at Lake
Voltas came into operation in 1966, Ghana was completely
dependent on electricity from diesel generators. For a long
time, the country's electricity needs were largely covered
by the Akosombo power plant (912 MW) and the Kpong power
plant (160 MW).
Ghana could also export electricity to Togo and Benin.
However, the production of water electricity varies with the
rainfall and periodically low water levels have caused
electricity shortages to damage the important mining
industry. In order to reduce dependence on water
electricity, thermal power plants have been developed, so
far powered by imported gas. Firing with firewood and
charcoal is still the most important source of energy for a
majority of households.
Ghana has a relatively diversified industrial sector,
which focuses both on exports and on importation. Processing
of agricultural products, the textile and paper industry and
the chemical industry are important industrial branches. The
Tema oil refinery is also important. The industry's
contribution to GDP was 22 percent in 1973. This then
declined sharply and in 1983 was less than 5 percent.
However, the economic reforms and the growth of the oil
industry have led to an increase of the share to 24 percent
The industry's need for imported equipment has resulted
in low capacity utilization. One of the largest industries
is the Tema aluminum smelter with a capacity of 200,000
tonnes per year. In the mid-1980s, less than 50,000 tonnes
were produced due to low demand and energy supply problems.
Since the 1990s, the industry has gradually recovered but is
still struggling with problems such as high raw material
costs and electricity shortages. Most of the industry is
located in the Accra-Tema and Sekondi-Takoradio areas as
well as Kumasi.
The decline in cocoa production since the 1960s and 1970s
has led Ghana to have a deficit in its trade balance for
many years. The situation has been the same since the 1990s
despite record-high cocoa crops and good economic growth.
Exports are dominated by primary products such as gold,
cocoa and timber. In 2011, oil passed gold as the most
important export commodity. The country also exports
bauxite, manganese and diamonds. Imports are dominated by
capital goods, oil and food.
The most important export recipients are India, China and
Switzerland. Imports come mainly from China, the United
States and the United Kingdom.
Tourism and gastronomy
Ghana is not a major tourist country, but the number of
tourists has increased since the end of the 1990s; In 2011,
the country was visited by 931,000 people.
Just east of Accra, as well as elsewhere along the coast,
there are nice beaches. A major tourist attraction in Ghana
is the national parks; the larger ones, such as the mole,
harbor antelopes, elephants and many interesting bird
Accra is a modern metropolis, with remnants of flaky
1960s booms, from the time when Kwame Nkrumah, through
monumental facilities, wanted to emphasize the newly
independent role of Ghana in the alliance-free states.
Worth noting is the National Museum (wood sculptures and
tissues) and the large market (an even more extensive one is
found in the old Ashanti capital, Kumasi, which has,
however, preserved very little from its brilliant past). For
a Nordic resident, Christiansborg Castle (presidential
residence) on the coast next to Accra is of particular
interest. The fortress is reminiscent of the fact that the
Danish trading company here lasted until 1850.
In the old capital of Cape Coast, the castle was
originally built by Swedes; during the short Swedish
colonial era (1650–63) it was called Carolusborg. Situated
stately on the sea shore, this, along with the
Portuguese-Dutch castle of Elmia, is a reminder of how the
leading European maritime powers from the 1600s became
interested in the Gold Coast and its trade opportunities.
These castles, along with some forty smaller fortifications,
constitute Ghana's most important cultural historical sites.
The food in Ghana is predominantly vegetable. Rice, corn,
manioc and starchy flour bananas are the main food. Fish are
caught in the sea or Lake Volta. Dried fish and dried shrimp
are common, for example in gari photo, where buns
of tapioca are eaten with sauce of eggs, onions, tomatoes
and dried shrimp. Chickens are often prepared in peanut
stew. The Ghanaians themselves also admit that the
interaction between traditional West African cuisine and
British has not always been good. Anyone who has the
opportunity can take advantage of the short distance from
Accra to the border and the French-style Lomé in Togo to get
a really good meal. On the plus side, however, should be
mentioned excellent fish dishes and seafood as well as a
tasty light beer.