Ghana is situated in Africa and is once ranked as the most peaceful African country. It is one of the earliest colonies to get freedom from British rule; it was named by British “The Gold Coast” because of its richness in gold and salt. It is bounded by three countries and an ocean. The weather is either hot or rainy, equator missed Ghana by a short distance. Most important fact about Ghana is that it is an oil producing country which makes economically sound as compared to other undeveloped and poor African countries. (10 Interesting Facts About Ghana)
Ghana fell victim to corruption and lawlessness immediately after independence and therefore despite of being rich in resources could not prosper. It regained momentum after its first prime minister was elected. There are two distinct parties in Ghana: National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP). In 2012 there was some tension between the two parties when NPP claimed that election results are not fair and challenged them in the court, the ruling came out against them and matter was settled. The 1992 constitution helped Ghana stabilize democracy, under this constitution president can elect a cabinet of his own choice to help him assist in running the state and this patronizing situation disrupts the path of development. Each government tends to select its own party supporters on key positions as their rivalry against each other is fierce. Judiciary is free from the influence of government but the process is slow. (Throup, 2011)
The exports of cocoa, gold and oil are the major revenue generating resources for the country: Cocoa and gold together account for 70% of country exports. But at the same time due to this heavy dependence on these commodities only, that have no value addition to them, makes the economy highly exposed and vulnerable to economic shocks. If prices of any of these commodities fall down Ghana’s economy will be badly hurt. Cocoa production reached an all time high of 750,000 tons in 2009-10, but underlying reality is Ghana is unable to implement modern and productive means of agriculture and soil fertility is decreasing over the years. This situation will lead to a decline in production in the later decades. Ghana also needs to develop other markets for export other than Cocoa; it has fertile lands and immense potential to grow and export other cash crops.
The manufacturing sector needs major reforms as its contribution to GDP is not more than 10%, frequent power shortages are the major contributor in this lack of efficiency. Gold which is second major contributor to GDP does not produce much employment opportunities. Since the discovery of oil, future of Ghana seemed very bright but the oil reserves will decline after 2016 unless new reserves are being explored. (Throup, 2011)
There are various cultural and religious groups in Ghana but fortunately this hasn’t lead to ethnicity issues. In order to encourage different ethnic groups to mingle the government has implemented various policies like making it necessary for youth to spend some time outside their native home towns. Ethnicity is strong in villages but recently rural to urban migration trend has downplayed this element as well. Although there have been some instances of ethnic violence but they did not play any significant role at shaping any policy at national level.
Religious division is even more remote cause of disruption and majority of the population is Christian. However there is a danger that oil discovery can be harmful to the nation if its political leaders start consuming the revenues in strengthening their political standing in the country rather than spending it on economic development, which happens a lot of time in developing nations. (Throup, 2011)
Unlike natural resources, science and technology needs to be developed, it is not God gifted. Since independence the rulers have made it their mission to make Ghana a technologically advanced state but unfortunately this dream hasn’t come true yet due to several reasons: frequent power failures, heavy reliance on export of commodities, lack of industrial development, heavy import of food and other goods, in sufficient effort to innovate and create new solutions among science graduates, inability to implement modern tools for agriculture. Countries that have shown tremendous growth in R&D have spent a major portion of their GDP on relevant activities; Ghana has set aside a very small budget to it. It does not share its research with other African countries nor does it has made any effort to form a platform where all African countries could share such information and thus help each other grow. Although Ghana is not as poor as other African countries but the illiteracy and poverty rates are still very high which makes it difficult to realize the potential of this region. (Osei-Kwabena, 2011)
WWF has made alignment with an NGO at Ghana in order to preserve the forests and forest life, advice on land use planning. The challenges faced by Ghanaian government with regards to environment protection are: waste management, illegal mining, logging, deforestation, noise, and water and air pollution. Some NGOs are helping in increasing awareness about environment friendly activities and stating their benefits for both current and future generation.
Ghana has the best military force in all of Africa, which is of the right size. It does not put a restrain on budget and thus does not prevent the economy from flourishing on the expense of defense and military expenditure, but it is quite capable of preventing the local inhabitants from indulging into any civil disobedience. Not only that the army has been able to maintain peace within the country but it has also helped UN in several peacekeeping operations overseas.
10 Interesting Facts About Ghana. (n.d.). Retrieved December 09, 2015, from buzzGhana: http://buzzghana.com/facts-about-ghana
Osei-Kwabena, N. (2011, January 16). Developing Science and Technology in Ghana/Africa – Part 1. Retrieved December 09, 2015, from Talkafrique: http://www.talkafrique.com/science-and-technology/developing-science-and-technology-in-ghana-africa-1
Throup, D. W. (2011). Ghana-Assessing Risks to stability. Washington: Centre For Strategic And International Studies.