General information: Ghana was formed as a result of the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the British Trust Territory of Togoland. Ghana became the first country in colonial Africa to achieve independence (1957). A long string of military coups led to the suspension of the constitution in 1981 and the banning of political parties. In 1992, a new constitution was adopted that restored a multi-party political system. Lieutenant Jerry RAWLINGS, head of state since 1981, won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but the constitution did not allow a third term in 2000. He was replaced by John KUFUOR.
Location: West Africa, on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, between Côte d’Ivoire and Togo.
Geographic coordinates: 8° 00′ N. latitude, 2° 00′ W
Reference map: Africa.
Area: total: 238,540 square kilometers; land surface area: 230,020 km2; water surface area: 8,520 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Oregon.
Land borders: total length: 2,093 km; with neighboring states: from Burkina Faso 548 km, from Côte d’Ivoire 668 km, from Togo 877 km.
Coastline: 539 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: 200 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; warm and relatively dry on the southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in the north.
Terrain: mostly flat, turning into hilly plateau in the south of the central region.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Afajato 880 m
Natural resources: gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower resources.
Land use: arable land: 12%; cultivated land: 7%; pastures: 22%; forests and plantations: 35%; others: 24% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 60 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: hot dry wind ‘harmattan’ blowing from January to March; drought.
Current environmental issues: The recent drought in the north has severely damaged agriculture; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and destruction of the natural habitat of wild animals, threatening their populations; water pollution; insufficient supply of drinking water.
International agreements on environmental protection: contributor: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation.
Geography note: Lake Volta is the largest artificial lake in the world; in the northeast from January to March the wind ‘harmattan’ blows.
Population: 19,894,014; note: estimates for this country take into account rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 41.18% (men 4,123,317; women 4,068,786); 15 to 64 years old: 55.35% (male 5,455,577; female 5,555,278); over 65: 3.47% (male 328,809; female 362,247) (2001 est.)
Population growth: 1.79% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 28.95 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 10.26 deaths/1000 people (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.83 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; under 15: 1.01 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.98 male/female; over 65: 0.91 male/female; for the general population: 0.99 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 56.54 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 57.24 years; men: 55.86 years; women: 58.66 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 3.82 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: 3.6% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 340,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 33,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Ghanaian; adjective: Ghanaian.
Ethnic groups: black Africans 99.8% (the largest tribes are Akans 44%, Mossi-Dagom-Ba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ha 8%), Europeans and others less than 0.2%.
Believers: adherents of local beliefs 38%, Muslims 30%, Christians 24%, other 8%.
Language(s): English (official), African languages (including Akan, Mossi Dagomba, Ewe and Ga).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 64.5%; men: 75.9%; women: 53.5% (1995 est.).
Common long form: Republic of Ghana
conventional short form: Ghana; former: Gold Coast.
State structure: constitutional democracy. See a2zgov.com to know more about Ghana government and politics.
Administrative divisions: 10 regions: Ashanti, Upper West, Upper East, Brong Ahafo, Western, Volta, Greater Accra, Eastern, Northern, Central.
Independence: from March 6, 1957 (until 1957 – a colony of Great Britain).
National holiday: Independence Day, 6 March (since 1957).
Constitution: new constitution adopted on April 28, 1992.
Legal system: based on English common law and customary law; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President John Ajaikum KUFUOR (since 7 January 2001) Vice President John Alhaji Aliu MAHAMA (since January 7, 2001); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President John Ajaikum KUFUOR (since 7 January 2001); Vice President John Alhaji Aliu MAHAMA (since January 7, 2001); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: Council of Ministers; the President nominates candidates approved by the Parliament; elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote on one ballot for four-year terms; elections last held on 7 and 28 December 2000 (next to be held in December 2004); election results: John Ajaikum KUFUOR elected president; percentage of the vote – John Ajeikum KUFUOR 56.4%, John Atta MILLS (John Atta MILLS) 43.6%.
Legislature: unicameral Parliament (200 members elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year term); elections: last held 7 December 2000 (next to be held in December 2004); election results: distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by party – NPP 100, NDC 92, PNC 3, CPP 1, independent 4.
Judiciary: Supreme Court. Political Party Leaders: ‘Every Ghanaian Wherever He Lives’ (EGLE) (Owuraku AMOFA, Chairman); National Convention Party (NCP) (Sarpong KUMA-KUMA); National Democratic Congress (NDC) (Dr. Huu-du YAHAYA, general secretary); New Patriotic Party (NPP) (Samuel Arthur ODOI-SYKES); People’s Convention Party (PCP) (DONKO-AYIFI [R. K. DONKOH-AYIFI]); People’s Heritage Party (PHP) (Emmanuel Alexander ERSKINE); National People’s Convention (PNC) (Edward MANAMA).
Political parties and leaders:
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM, OAS (observer), OAU, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: head of mission: Ambassador Kobena KUMSON (Kobena KOOMSON); office: 3512 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 686-4520; fax:  (202) 686-4527; consulates general: New York.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Kathryn D. ROBINSON; embassy: Ring Road East, East of Danquah Circle, Accra; mailing address: P. O. Box 194, Accra; phone:  (21) 775348; fax:  (21) 776008.
Description of the flag: three equal horizontal stripes of red (top), yellow and green with a large black five-pointed star located in the middle of the yellow stripe; the colors of Ethiopia, popular throughout Africa, are used; similar to the flag of Bolivia, which has a coat of arms in the center of the yellow stripe.