Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold, timber, and cocoa production are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 41% of GDP and employs 60% of the work force, mainly small landholders.
Agriculture occupies most of the working population, producing both subsistence and cash crops. The most important of the latter is cocoa, of which Ghana is one of the world's major producers. The economy has suffered badly in the last decade, during much of which the world market price for cocoa has been unusually low. Fishing has also grown in importance since the traditional canoe method has been supplemented by a modern fleet.
The country's main industry is mining, particularly for diamonds and gold (produced at the famous Ashanti goldfield), and this is both a major employer and an important foreign currency earner. The country's energy needs are met by hydroelectric projects, which produce a surplus which Ghana sells to its neighbours. Oil and gas exploration have been given a high priority by the government, but as yet no commercially exploitable quantities have been discovered.
Ghana is a member of the Economic Community of West African States. Ghana was one of the first countries to undertake an IMF-sponsored Structural Adjustment Programme, involving measures to liberalise the economy, remove trade barriers and state intervention in industry and maintain firm budgetary control. The programme has been judged a success, and economic indicators have been reasonably good in the last few years. However, tangible benefits for the population have proved slow in coming – a large number have seen few material gains. The UK is the largest trading partner, accounting for 20% of Ghana's exports and nearly 30% of imports. Nigeria, the USA, Germany, Japan and The Netherlands are other important trading partners.
- GDP: $5.9 billion (2002)
- GDP per Capita: $1,980 (2002)
- GDP Growth rate: 5.2 (2004 by Gov't) ...more
- GNP/Capita: $1,900 (2000 est.) -A measure of per capita income that takes into account relative purchasing power across countries.
- GDP - composition by sector: : agriculture: 36% industry: 25% services: 39% (2000 est.)
- Income per capita: US$290 (2002)
- Income per capita growth: 1.3 (1999-2000)
- Gross national income: 6.6 billion (ranking 102
- Budget Revenue: $1.603 billion (2001)
- Budget Expenditures: $1.975 billion (2001 est.)
- Budget Deficit: 3.4 percent of GDP (2004
- Total Debt: US$5.5bn (2000); $6.9bn (2001); $7.2bn (2002 est.); 6.1bn (2004)
- Per Capita Debt: 2.7million (2001)
- Debt Service Payment: $261.7 (Oct '99)
- Debt Service Ratio: 24.3% (1996)
- Current account balance: -$0.5 billion (2000 est.)
- Inflation rate: 11.3% (Feb '04); 22.4 (Jan '04); 23. 6 (Dec '03); 30% (Apr. '03); 29.6% (June '03)
- Interest rate: 26% (Jan 2004)
- HIPC Foreign Debt $5.96bn (2003) -imf/world bank
- Forex reserves $226m (2003) -imf/world bank
- Growth rate (IMF projection): 4.5% (Jan. '99)