Ghana is situated on the Southside of West Africa and is bordering Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north and Togo in the east. The south border of 539 kilometers is with the Gulf of Guinea, so it has connection to the oceans. The main port is Tema. The size of the country is 238.450 kmÂ² (half the size of France) and an estimated 22.000.000 people are living in this country. Nowadays the capital is Accra, but before it is was Cape Coast and further back in history, more specific in the 17th century, it was Kumasi. In those times the Ashanti were running the country. The search for the history of Ghana is not going on so long, so there is not much known of the times before the European settled down along the coast. Initialy there were trading centers for local goods, but soon slave trading became the main trade.
Ghana was the first country in West Africa to become independent. Freedom fighter Kwame N'krumah and his freedom group came to an agreement with Great Britain in 1957. On 6 March 1957 the colony called Gold Coast changed in Ghana and a National Assembly prepared the democracy process. In 1960 Ghana became a republic and N'krumah was elected as first president. As in many countries in West Africa the way to democracy was tough. In 1966 N'krumah was overthrown and in 1979 the army (under leadership of Jerry Rawlings) took the power. First the army allowed a civil government but in 1981 the army took all the power. It lasted to 1991 before democracy returned and Rawlings was elected as a democratic president.
Economically Ghana is a medium country. Their main export products are gold, cacao, wood, industrial diamonds, fish, rubber, manganese and bauxite. The estimated income is about 80 euro per month. Till 1993 the economy of the country was a disaster. Since the Economic Recovery Program started, the country is doing better, but it has the disadvantage that neighboring countries do not really have stable governments, so investors are scared to invest money in Ghana, although more and more countries, like Japan, see the benefits of this country. Also recently the International Monetary Fund reduced the debt of Ghana with almost 4 billion dollars to 2.1 billion dollars.
English is the official language, but a lot of people speak their own local languages from the tribes they are part of. There are many tribes in this country. Most people are religious. Christianity is most common (63 %), in the north there are quite a lot of Muslims (16 % of total population is Muslim) and then there are about 20 % Animists.
Ghana is a flat country. The highest point is mount Afadjato (880 meter) in the Volta region. The country has 10 regions: Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta region en Western region. Looking at the map of Ghana, Lake Volta can't be overlooked. This manmade lake is the biggest one Africa and one of the biggest ones in the World. It is fed by the White and Black Volta.
The currency is the Cedi. The Cedi was introduced in 1965 to replace the English pound. Due to inflation the Value dropped fast. In March 2006 1 euro was equal to 10.700 cedis (1 us$ = 9000 cedis). In 2008 the currency will change in the ECO. The ECO will also be used in 5 other West African countries, which are also associates of West Africa Ecowas. Changing money is possible in all big cities. There are ATM's all over the country, mainly with the Barclays Bank. The ATM's only accept Visa cards. Only on a few places (mainly in Accra) you can use different cards. Travellers cheques can be changed by most major banks.