An opportunity to have a big impact with a little contribution
Republic of Ghana
- Ghana was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa to which European merchants arrived, first looking for gold, then slaves.
- In 1957, Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to declare its independence. It had been a Portuguese colony and at that time it was an English colony.
- It is considered as the most consolidated democracy in Africa. Since the new constitution, in 1992, the result of the elections has been respected.
- Since 2017 the new president is Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)
- Area: 238,538 km2 (approximately half of Spain)
- Population: 28,400,000 inhabitants, of which 40% are under 16
- Capital: Accra (2,450,000 inhabitants)
- Religion: 50% Christians (mainly Pentecostals, Protestants and Catholics), 25% animists (of which many are also Christians) and 25% Muslims.
- Great dependence on the primary sector, especially Cacao, as it is the second producer in the world, followed by the Ivory Coast.
- Gold and, in recent years, hydrocarbons are also important in the economy: Oil and Gas.
- The Lake Volta, in the Eastern región, is the largest reservoir in the world (8,502 km²)
- Ghana reporesents the new emerging Africa and its people are quite peaceful and friendly.
- Most of the slaves sent to America left the forts on the coasts of Ghana. Of course, many of them were originally from Ghana.
- In Ghana, informality and passivity may be perceived. The rythm of the life is different there.
- Most of the jobs are informal, wich has negative consequences on the finances of the state. That means that most economic activities do not pay the taxes they should pay and the state does not receive enough money to provide essential services.
- According to some studies, half of the population in Ghana survives with less than €1.25 a day. Ghana continues to be considered one of the poorest countries in the world.
- Ghana has not traditionally been a priority country for the cooperation of the European Union, since it is considered as a country that has been evolving adequately since its independence.
- Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and also over the world for the last decade, but it is necessary to consider the low starting point from which it started.
- In June 2007, large reserves of oil were discovered in the high seas, which generated an increase in expectations of economic momentum.
- The growth of Ghana’s economy in recent years has been dynamic, but this apparent development has not been translated into the country’s poor and vulnerable population.
Current context and analysis of the situation:
Ghana is located in the Gulf of Guinea (Sub-Saharan Africa). It is bordered on the North by Burkina Faso, on the East by Togo, on the West by the Ivory Coast and on the south by the Gulf of Guinea.
It is inhabited by more than 26 million inhabitants, characterized by their youth, mostly Christians and with a great variety of ethnic groups. They are quite peaceful, without ethnic conflicts and with a strong national unifying spirit. The people embraced democracy and stability as the only way out of underdevelopment.
It is known as “Africa for beginners” as this former British colony is considered, since the military regime has left in 1992 and returning to multi-partyism, an example of democracy, freedom, stability and peace.
Ghana is a country with an annual average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. The country does not have large mountains and is located on the “green” line of Africa: the equatorial line.
As a former English colony, the predominant language is English, only spoken and managed by people who have been trained in schools.
Most of the people speak their tribal languages. Nine languages have been officially recognized: the Akan, the Ewe, the Dagomba (dagbane), the Adangme, the Dagaare, the Ga, the Gonja, the Kasem and the Nzema. Although it doesn’t have any official recognition, the Hausa is the lingua franca spoken among the Muslims of Ghana.
Ghana has a great natural wealth, but it is “exploited” by foreign companies and investments that, in most of the cases, exploit the country and its impoverished population without giving back fairly part of the profits.
In Ghana, less than 30% of the population live in the North of the country. More than 25 different tribes live in that zone, scattered in rural areas. The area is characterized by agriculture, poverty and a concentration of the Muslim community.
Around 70% of Ghana’s population is concentrated in the South, characterized by Christianity (Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian), and by having large urban settlements, such as the Greater Accra Region, where more than 4 million people live.
Ghana has been evolving significantly in the last recent decades, in terms of economic growth and fight against poverty. These positive trends can be attributed, in part, to its historical solid economic health based on gold, cocoa and, recently, on oil.
Precisely the growth, dynamism and economic, legislative and political stability – – are attracting every year foreign companies willing to invest in the country. Also several NGOs are actively contributing to turning the region into a clear example of how to fight against poverty and underdevelopment. Ghana might be a model for a continent in need.
In Ghana there is a historic gap between the South, much more urban and industrialized and the impoverished tan the rural North, where people suffer from malnutrition and food insecurity and more than 60% of their communities live below the poverty line.
However, Ghana has still many challenges ahead:
- Achieve electrical stability, without interruptions and with greater coverage.
- Achieve “formalize” its economy, so that productive activities pay the taxes that the state needs.
- Despite the large number of banks and financial institutions established in Ghana, it is necessary to ensure a better access to loans for the whole population, so that they can start new family businesses and empower young entrepreneurs.
- It is necessary to achieve greater coverage of formal basic education.
- Ghana must fight corruption decisively.
- It must provide preventive medical treatments for children and vulnerable people: “Some 29,000 children under the age of five die each day, due to foreseeable causes.
- It is crucial to improve the public hospital system.
- In the area of international aid, it is necessary to train local NGOs for them to document in detail their activities, accounts and invoices, thus improving the level of transparency and accountability.
- On the other hand, most of the local NGOs need help to obtain financing and support for their activity from developed countries.
- Encourage agrarian projects for sustainable development.
The highest poverty is concentrated in large cities such as Accra, where hundreds of immigrants from rural areas, even from other countries in Africa, arrive day after day looking for new opportunities to survive.
Around 40% of the population of Ghana is under 16 years old, the phenomenon of poverty and exclusion is concentrated in large cities such as the Greater Accra Region, where these children look for opportunities and face the sad reality of leaving in the streets.
Now the challenge is to prepare those children so that they become true protagonists of the change that the country needs.
At the end, what will make Ghana able to sustain its pace of growth in the next decades will be a governement policy focused on the human aspects. Developing a quality access and evolution in education and health, promoting microcredit for the agriculture and the medium and small business, and implementing policies for the inclusion of women.
Of course this goes through supporting and preparing the homeless children, especially the children who live in the streets of Accra, so that they receive the education and the formation, so that they are self-sustaining and functional.