Country:  Republic of Ghana (formerly Gold Coast)

Geography:  Ghana is in Western Africa and is bordered by Burkina Faso to the north; Togo to the east; the Atlantic Ocean – Gulf of Guinea to the south; and Cote d’Ivorie to the west.  There is a narrow, grassy plain that stretches inland from the coast. The south and west are covered by dense rainforest. To the north are forested hills, savannah, and open woodland. In the east there are the Akuapim Togo hills. The Black and White Volta rivers enter Ghana from Burkina Faso and merge in the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Volta.

Area:  239,460 sq km; slightly smaller than Oregon

Background/History:  “Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. A long series of coups resulted in the suspension of the constitution in 1981 and the banning of political parties. A new constitution, restoring multiparty politics, was approved in 1992. Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS, head of state since 1981, won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. He was succeeded by John KUFUOR, who defeated former Vice President Atta MILLS in a free and fair election.” (CIA-World Fact Book 2004)

Population:  20,757,032 (July 2004 est.)

Population Growth Rate:  1.36% (2004 est.)

Fertility Rate:  3.17 children born/woman (2004 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:  52.22 deaths/1,000 live births

Life Expectancy at Birth:  56.27 years

HIV/AIDS Adult Prevalence Rate:  3.1% (2003 est.)

Language:  English is the official language. Local Ghanaian languages are widely spoken, including Akan, Ewe, Fante, Ga, Moshi-Dagomba and Twi.

Capital:  Accra

Government:  Constitutional democracy

Climate:  Tropical. It is warm and comparatively dry along the southeast coast while it is hot and humid in the north and southwest.  There are two rainy seasons in Ghana: from March to July and from September to October.

Religion:  Christian 63%, Muslim 16%, indigenous beliefs 21%

Currency:  Cedi (GHC)

Labor Force:  agriculture 60%, industry 15%, services 25% (1999 est.)