Ghana a western country in Africa has a history and present. In the past it was an empire which in current historical books is described as Empire of Ghana. It’s has a coast and on sides bounded by Cote d’Ivoire and Togo. Africa for a fact is commonly known as a continent which offers a lot of historical evidences about humans – it has the world’s hottest desert and comes second largest in size. Ghana is one small country which contributes a lot to the history and culture of Africa; therefore, here are 10 interesting facts about Ghana which everyone should learn.
1. Ghana became the first Sub-Saharan country to gain Freedom
Like most of the countries in Africa, such as Kenya or Madagascar, Ghana too was colonised. It became the first Sub-Saharan country to gain freedom from the British Empire in 1957. The transition from colonial rule to self-rule, like most of the post-colonial countries, was not smooth for Ghana.
Britishers were more interested in Gold Coast of Ghana, as it produced salt and gold. Later, after the freedom, Gold Coast, Togoland and other trust territories were merged to form state of Ghana.
2. Ghana is essentially a tropical country
The southwest region of Ghana is hot and humid as it homes warm and wet forests. The northern region is particularly dry and hot. Its capital Accra is within the dry equatorial zone. Ghana is located along the Gulf of Guinea which is only a few degrees in the north of Equator line; therefore anyone can pretty much expect its weather.
3. The country is endowed with Natural Resources
Ghana has the kind of natural resources which can take a country on the path to modernisation and industrialization. However, those resources lack the sound management. Ghana is also rich in gold reserves. According to WB, the 2018 GDP of Ghana was around $45bn, around 20% of this GDP is contributed by agriculture. It has a population of 29.7m as of 2018. Domestically, the country faces a revenue gap in power sector. The discovery of oil in Ghana contributed a lot in reducing the import bill of the country. It was discovered in 2007.
Further, its export volume is $14bn in year 2018, out of which 40% contribution comes in the shape of stone and glass. Its major imports include capital products.
4. Ghana has a past of monarchy – the Empire of Ancient Ghana
The Empire of Ghana consisted of the western Africa, the region in which today was find Mauritania, Senegal and Mali. It was located just South of the Sahara desert. The empire had a capital called Koumbi Saleh. The empire lasted between 300 to 1100 CE. Actually the word Ghana seems to have originated in that particular empire, it means Warrior King. Those who lived outside the empire used to call the it with this name. Iron and Gold was the main source of glory for the ancient Ghana empire. Eventually the empire succumbed to the pressure of the muslims from Northern Africa. The advent of Islam and the spread of caliphate is one reason behind the fall of the Ghana empire.
5. Currency of Ghana is called ‘Ghanian Cedi’
In the Republic of Ghana the currency Ghanian Cedi is used for conducting the day to day business. After 1957, Ghana ended the usage of British pound and switched to Cedi after some years. Today according to morningstar, one dollar equals 5.68 ghanaian cedi.
6. Elimina Castle is the oldest European building in Sub-Saharan Africa
A pretty interesting fact about Ghana is Elimina Castle which Ghana boasts about it as the oldest European construction in sub-Saharan Africa. The Portuguese had built this castle upon their arrival back in 1482. It served as the first trading post in the gulf of Guinea. The name Elmina means gold mines. It was named so due to the abundance of gold found in that particular area i-e the modern day coasts of Ghana.
7. Ghana produces second most cocoa beans in world
A majority of cocoa bean production is attributed to Africa. Ghana is a pretty good contributor of its production. The Ivory Coast and Ghana are the two largest cocoa producer in the world. South American countries like Brazil also produce cocoa but Africa just takes a lead in this case. It’s used in chocolates and butter and almost everyone just loves the products made out of cocoa.
8. Ghana is a pretty peaceful country
Global Peace Index by Relief Web, shows that Ghana is a pretty peaceful country. The international think tank ranks 163 countries and it has placed Ghana at a rank of 44. For comparison. Somalia is at 158 and South Sudan is at 161. Iceland is the world’s most peaceful country according to the 2019 survey.
One reason behind this peaceful attitude is because of tolerance towards diversity. Ghana boasts of its state’s secular nature and outlook towards people of different religions.
9. Kofi Annan was from Ghana, served 7th Secretary General of the UN
Everyone knows about Kofi Annan; he served as the 7th secretary general of the UN. He belonged to Ghana. Annan served between 1997 and 2006. He is very much well known for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.
10. It has the largest market in West Africa called Kejetia
Kejetia in Ghana is often cited as the largest market in West Africa. The market is located in Kumasi, which is also the birth place of Kofi Annan. The market is one of the tourists attraction places. It is quite disorienting but at the same time a pretty much captivating experience is offered – a unique harmony can be witnessed. Foot stuffs, second-hand shoes, clothes, beads, Ashanti sandals, bracelets and plastic knick-knacks can be found in the market. Certain corners in market also sell fruits, vegetables and meat. So in a way, it’s just like a one stop shop for everything; however, a local guide can actually help an outside steer through the dense market.