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Formed from the merger of the Gold Coast and British Togoland by a United Nations sponsored plebiscite in 1956, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence in 1957. The Republic of Ghana is located in West Africa and bordered by Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to the West, Burkina Faso to the North, Togo to the East and the Gulf of Guinea to the South.
The word Ghana means “Warrior King” and derives from the Ghana Empire in pre-colonial times. When Ghana achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, it became the first sub-Saharan African nation to do so and the name Ghana was chosen for the new nation to reflect the ancient Empire of Ghana, which once extended throughout much of West Africa.
Ghana is a member of many international organizations including the Commonwealth of Nations, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, La Francophone (Associate Member) and the United Nations. Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. Ghana’s cocoa is known to be of the best quality worldwide. Cocoa from Ghana is more prevalent in Europe and prized for its consistent quality.
After Independence under Kwame Nkrumah in 1957, Ghana endured a long series of coups before Ft. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, Ft. Lt. 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 re-elected in 2004. John Atta Mills took over as head of state in early 2009. He is the first Ghanaian head of state to have died whiles in office. John Mahama who served as the Vice President of Ghana from 2009 to 2012 took office as President on 24 July 2012 following the death of his predecessor John Atta Mills. John Mahama subsequently won the democratic elections in December 2012. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo succeeded John Dramani Mahama and was sworn in as President of the Republic of Ghana on 7th January 2017. He is the current President of the Rebublic of Ghana.
Government & Politics
Ghana was created as a parliamentary democracy at independence in 1957, followed by alternating military and civilian governments. In January 1993, military government gave way to the Fourth Republic after presidential and parliamentary elections in late 1992. The 1992 constitution divides powers among three independent organs being; The Executive, headed by the President, includes The Cabinet and Council of state, The Legislature also known as Parliament and the Judiciary. The Government is elected by universal suffrage.
There are sixteen administrative regions which are divided into 228 districts, each with its own District Assembly ably supported by other sub-district, Political/Administrative structures such as the Sub-Metropolitan District Councils, Urban, Town, Zonal and Area Councils as well as Unit Committees. This is in line with Government’s Decentralization Policy which evolves central administrative authority to the district level to promote grass root participation in the administration of Good Governance.
The legal system is based on British common law, customary (traditional) law, and the 1992 constitution. Court hierarchy consists of Supreme Court of Ghana (highest court), Courts of Appeal, and High Courts of Justice. Beneath these bodies are circuit, magisterial, and traditional courts. Extra Judicial institutions include public tribunals. Since independence, courts have been relatively independent; this independence continued under the Fourth Republic. Lower courts are being redefined and reorganized under the Fourth Republic.
Ghana’s return to constitutional rule has resonated into a stable political and democratic environment based on the rule of law and the macro-economic outlook. has played an indispensable role in her democratic dispensation. Ghana’s young democracy, which has been acclaimed as one of the best and thriving in Africa gives her a competitive urge over other member states. Her political stability, a unique selling proposition, continues to make her the Gateway to West Africa, as well as the preferred destination for investment. Ghana has survived seven peaceful elections and has witnessed a successful handing over of power from one political party to the other. Political parties became legal in 1992 after a ten-year hiatus. There are many political parties under the Fourth Republic. The major ones however, are the National Democratic Congress which won presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2012; the New Patriotic Party won elections in 2000, 2004 and 2016; the People’s National Convention, and lastly, the Convention People’s Party which was formed by Ghana’s first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Since independence, Ghana has been fervently devoted to ideals of non-alignment and Pan-Africanism, both closely identified with the first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana favours international and regional political and economic co-operation, and is an active member of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), African Caribbean, Pacific Group of States (ACP), World Trade Organisations (WTO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The flag of Ghana which consists of the colours red, gold, green and the black star, became the new flag in 1957. The red represent the blood that was shed prior to independence, the gold represent the mineral deposits of Ghana, the green symbolises the rich agriculture and the Black Star is the symbol of African Emancipation.
The economy of Ghana has over the years made positive progress as a result of policy reforms, which have improved macroeconomic performance and created a business environment conducive to the reduction of the cost of operating a business. Ghana has a market-based economy with relatively few policy barriers to trade and investment in comparison with other countries in the region. The country is also well-endowed with natural resources.
Agriculture accounts for nearly one-quarter of GDP and employs more than half of the workforce, mainly small landholders. Gold and cocoa exports, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. Ghana’s offshore oil field began production in mid-December 2010 and currently produces roughly 132,500 barrels per day. The country’s first gas processing plant at Atubao is also producing natural gas from the Jubilee field, providing power to several of Ghana’s thermal power plants.
The largest artificial lake in the world, the Lake Volta can be found in Ghana and is a major source of water for the Akosombo Dam. The Dam was built in 1965 and provides hydro-electric power for Ghana and her neighboring countries. In line with government’s vision of ensuring a secure and reliable supply of high quality energy, privately owned power generation companies operate to augment government’s efforts to sustain power supply. The Sunon Asogli power generation company in Kpone near Tema produces and delivers 200 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. The Takoradi International Company also independently owned, delivers quality electricity supply just like the Aboadze thermal plant. Currently Kar power is producing 450megawatts of power directly to the country’s power grid which has helped curb the power outage in the country.
Ghana is a prominent member of the smaller ECOWAS group, which is composed of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo. Established in 1975, ECOWAS is Africa’s leading regional economic community.
The organization was originally formulated as an area of economic cooperation and monetary union, incorporating the free movement of persons, capital, goods and services, as well as a common external tariff regime. Since its treaty was revised in 1993, however, ECOWAS has expanded its concerns to include deeper cooperation on peace and security issues, while its sister organization – the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) — was created a year later to realize the ambitions of a Customs union and common currency. ECOWAS is guided by a number of fundamental principles, such as the equality and inter-dependence of member states, the peaceful settlement of disputes and promotion of human rights, the promotion of democracy across the membership area, and the equitable and just distribution of the costs and benefits of economic cooperation and integration. The community also acts as a window to international trade for Ghana, principally through an economic partnership agreement (EPA). The main objective of the EPA is to establish a free trade area between ECOWAS and Europe, in accordance with Article XXIV of the GATT.
Ghana remains one of the more economically viable countries in all of Africa. The country’s increasingly democratic and social stability have served to boost the confidence of investors, leading to a surge in investment. First, it is an environment that is conducive to investments and economic growth.
Ghana is a signatory to a number of investment guarantees, which serve to mitigate the risk of doing business. These include:
Signatory to Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) convention
Dispute settlement guarantees also include:
Dispute settlement guarantees under United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL Rules)
Convention of the International Centre for the Settlement of International Disputes (ICSID)
International Chamber of Commerce
Ghana Government Guarantees against expropriation and nationalization as provided in the Constitution of Ghana (Article 20) and Free Zones Act (Act 504). Ghana has also signed bilateral investment protection agreements with a number of countries.
Ghana offers a stable climate for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The FDI code eliminates screening of inward investment, guarantees capital repatriation and equal treatment of all investors with respect to fiscal incentives. Economic activity in any country requires investors are protected with good rules. The rules in Ghana are established to clarify property rights and also reduce the cost of resolving disputes. There is also the Commercial Court which is responsible for handling general commercial disputes involving investments, tax, and banking matters, among others. Ghana’s rules predict economic interactions and provide contractual partners with certainty and protection against abuse. Ghana’s regulations are efficient, accessible to all and simple in implementation.
Media & Demographics
MediaThe media of Ghana is one of the most vibrant and free in Africa. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees freedom of the press and independence of the media and prohibits censorship. The Ghanaian media has been described by various reputable organizations as “one of the most unfettered” in Africa, operating with little restriction on private media.
DemographicsGhana has a population of about 28.21 million people (1st January, 2016 est.) and it is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups. Fortunately, Ghana is known for its stable political environment within the West African sub region and has not seen the kind of ethnic conflict that has created civil wars in many other African countries. The official language is English; however, most Ghanaians also speak at least one local language.
Ghana currently has an adult literacy rate as 2015 was 17.6% with 78.3% male and 62.5% female. 83% of the children in Ghana are in school, making it one of the countries with the highest school enrolment rates in West Africa. The 2010 population census by the Ghana statistical services on education statistics concluded that about (71.5%) of Ghanaians from ages 15 years and above can read and write.
Ghana currently has 9 Government owned universities and several accredited private universities serving a population of about 24 million. By this assertion, most Ghanaians have relatively easy access to good education. Most reputable among these tertiary institutions are the University of Ghana, Legon; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi; University of Cape coast, Cape Coast; University of Professional Studies, Accra; University of Development Studies, Tamale (Nyankpala) and Wa Campuses; University of Education, Winneba, University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Volta Region and University of Energy and Natural Resources, Brong Ahafo.Government has plans to upgrade six polytechnics into Technical Universities in the near future.
Ghana can also boast of highly educated persons who have been trained both locally and abroad and have excelled in various fields of study.
1. Bank of Ghana (BOG)
2. Registrar General's Department (RGsD)
3. Ghana Free Zones Authority
4. Ghana Immigration Service (GIS)
5. Ghana Investment Promotion Centre
6. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
7. Ghana Tourism Authority
8. Ghana Standard Authority
9. Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division)
10. Ghana Ports and Habour Authority
11. Lands Commission
12. Tema Development Corporation
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