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Introduction: 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. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, RAWLINGS won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John KUFUOR succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. John Atta MILLS took over as head of state in early...

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Economic Overview: Ghana possesses significant natural resources, in particular gold, timber, bauxite, manganese and industrial diamonds, but remains heavily dependent on international assistance provided largely by EU countries, North America and the World Bank. Its domestic economy continues to revolve around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 35 per cent of GDP and employs around 55 per cent of the work force, mainly small landholders. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country program in 2002, and was included in a G-8 debt relief program decided at the Gleneagles Summit in July 2005. Priorities under Ghana's current ...

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People: Ghana's population is concentrated along the coast and in the principal cities of Accra and Kumasi. Most Ghanaians descended from migrating tribes that probably came down the Volta River valley at the beginning of the 13th century. Ethnically, Ghana is divided into small groups speaking more than 50 languages and dialects. Among the more important linguistic groups are the Akans, which include ...

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International Relations: Ghana maintains close and friendly relations with its West African neighbours, largely through the regional organisation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in which it is a key player.

On the wider African stage, Ghana plays a leading role in the African Union (AU) and has been a major supporter of NEPAD, the AU’s flagship development plan. Ghana was one of the first four countries to be subject to NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism. In January 2007 Ghana became the Chair of the African Union, a nomination seen as fitting in the year that Ghana celebrated its 50th anniversary.


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Most ethnic groups constituting the population of Ghana (formerly the British colony of the Gold Coast) had settled in their present locations by the sixteenth century. Prior to British control in the nineteenth century, political developments in the area largely revolved around the formation, expansion, and contraction of a number of states -- a situation that often entailed much population ...

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Area Handbook Series
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