Country Profile: Ghana
An overview for expatriate professionals
Hailed as West Africa's golden child, Ghana deserves its place in the sun. One of Africa's great success stories, the country is reaping the benefits of a stable democracy in the form of fast-paced development. And it shows: Ghana is suffused with the most incredible energy.
With its welcoming beaches, gorgeous hinterland, rich culture, vibrant cities, diverse wildlife and easy transport, it's no wonder why Ghana is becoming a popular expatriate destination.
Population: 30.42 million
Currency: Ghanaian Cedi (GHC)
Official Language: English
Religion: Christianity 70% of population
Ghana is a west African nation located close to the equator along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean which form its southern boundaries.
Spanning a land mass of over 92,000 square miles, it is bounded to its west by the Ivory Coast, to the North by Burkino Faso and to the east by Togo.
Its geography and ecology are diverse ranging from coastal savannahs to tropical rainforests. Forrests and grasslands mixed with southern coastal shrublands dominate the land which also features the world's largest artifical lake, Lake Volta, hills, plains,waterfalls and an extensive river network.
Ghana's 30 million population spans a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups with Christianity the dominant religion practised by almost 70% of the population.
A democratic country, it is ruled by a President who is both head of state and head of government and its growing economic power has made it a local powerhouse within west Africa.
It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, the Non Aligned Movement, the Group of 24 and ECOWAS. Its capital is Accra, a coastal city with a regional population of over 4 million.
Ghana has natural resources which include industrial minerals, hydrocarbons and precious metals and is the world's second largest producer of cocoa. A middle income country, services count for 50% of GDP followed by manufacturing 24%, extractive industries 5% and taxes 20.9%.
The "Ghana Vision 2020" plans for Ghana to become a developed country between 2020-2029 and a "newly industrialised country" by 2039. The Ghana stock exchange is the fifth largest in continental Africa and the third largest in sub-saharan Africa.
The Ghana economy is an emerging digital-based mixed economy hybrid similarly to that of Taiwan. There is an increasing amount of primary manufacture and exportation of digital technology goods along with the assembly and export of automobiles and ships.
There is diverse resource rich exportation of industrial minerals, agricultural products (primarily cocoa), petroleum and natural gas. Information and communications technology is a growing sector, primarily via Ghana's state digital technology corporation Rlg Communications, which manufactures tablet computers with smartphones and various consumer electronics.
The economy is strongly linked with the countries of the Far East, particularly China and Singapore and the Chinese currency RMB is used in trade.
Science and Technology
The Ghana Space Science and Technology Centre and the Ghana Space Agency oversee the space programmes and space exploration of Ghana which are co-ordinated with those of South Africa.
Ghana was the first sub- saharan African country to launch a mobile cellular network in 1992 and one of the first to connect to the internet. It aims to be the information technology hub of West Africa.
Ghana has a universal health system strictly for Ghanaian nationals, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). There are over 200 hospitals in Ghana and urban regions are well served with hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
Private healthcare is developing with international organisations opening facilities in the country providing advanced specialist care.
Expatriate Life in Ghana
The expat community in Ghana has grown over the years and become quite diverse. Lebanese traders who have been in the country for generations have been joined by Christian missionaries, diplomats, aid workers and more recently, professionals from the private sector.
That said, the entire foreign community only constitutes a small proportion of the total population. However, an increasing number of expats are flooding into the country to work in the growing hydrocarbon, telecommunications, mining and transportation industries.
Highly skilled foreigners will find that salaries far exceed that of their home countries for the same work and that companies view Ghana as a hardship posting, which brings additional financial benefits.
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