ABOUT THE COUNTRY OF GHANA
Ghanians genrally have relatively
easy access to good education. This is due to the fact that during the past
decade, primary and middle school tuition is free and education spending
by the government has been between 28% and 40% of its annual budget. However,
as the 2001 Literacy survey shows, 49.9% of adults over 15 years pf age are
totally illiterate, reflecting the newness of the education policy and the
lack of access to schools in the rural areas. Children attend basic school
from 3 years old but the facilities and equipment are largely lacking for
Looking at Ghana in general, Census data records 51% of the 18.8
million population are female, with the 0-14 year olds accounting for 41.2%. IN this category there are slightly more males than females. At the other end of the population pyramid, we find 3.4% being 65 years old and over with 52% of them being female (UNDP 2000).This is important when one looks at the rural situation where households are comprised mainly of older females and children with males going off to work in the urban areas.
Life is hard in the rural areas, which is reflected in the life expectancy at birth being
58.66 years for females and 55.86 years for men. Average household size is 8.4 persons.
12.5% of the land area in Ghana is arable land with 7.5% being permanent cropland.
This arable land would appear to be fairly fertile when one realizes that agriculture accounts
for 10% of the GDP and food for 78% of merchandise export. It is not surprising therefore that
the past government (2000 budget speech), stated its intention to increase both the acquisition
of land and access to land for investment. For the medium term, the then government committed
itself to a total allocation of 410.8 billion cedis (7100=1US)
In a country of 18.5 million with a 2.2 % p.a. population growth, land tenure remains
an important issue. For many, acquisition to land is still seen as a privilege determined by Chiefs
and Kings. In many villages, land is still owned by the male members while females provide the labor
for farms on these hectares of land.
It is generally agreed that Ghana grows some of the world’s tastiest pineapples. These
together with cotton, cashew nuts, papaws, passion fruit, chilies and bananas have continued to
contribute to the growth of trade with the EU since the lifted ban imposed in 1998 for safety and
standard regulation breaches.
As growth in the agricultural sector continues, 5.3% in 1998, 4.3% in 1997, crops and
livestock by 3.2% in 1998, it would seem that Ghana’s export diversification should continue to
feature the non-traditional exports. Increase in value with the additional secondary industry should
be quickly pursued particularly in the above-mentioned crops where presently post-harvest losses
can run as high as 30%.
Ghana is a member of (ECOWAS) the Economic Community of West Africa, being one of the
English-speaking territories along with Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. ECOWAS is
made up of 15 states including the francophone and Portuguese territories. As a trade bloc,
ECOWAS total exports is only 0.4% (1998) of world export. This in comparison to European Union
which contributes 35.5% of world exports or the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
which records 0.8% of world trade. According to the latest World Trade Organization (WT))
annual report (1999), the United States, the European Union and Japan are together key players
in world trade.
There are however key indicators of growth and potential expansion in Africa,
which offer much interest to the investor. In 1998, real GDP growth was higher in Africa
than any other developing region, while inflation was slightly higher than in Asia and
significantly lower than other developing regions. AN UNCTAD report shows that for every
year since 1991, the rate of return on Africa FDI was between 5% and 15% better than the next
best region in the world. Half the World’s ten fastest growing economies are in Africa
Mbendi March 2001).
As has been pointed out by different sources, there are challenges to growth which
must be faced, such as
- Fluctuating currencies
- Bureaucratic red tape
- Lack of local capital
- Lack of experience in specialist non-traditional agriculture production
Lack of infrastructure, though in areas such as telecommunications and energy, Africa is able to use
new technologies to leapfrog more advanced communities.
These challenges can be overcome in a country such as Ghana, who recently
demonstrated exemplary democratic process in the holding of its national elections and political
hand-over of party responsibilities. This show of political peace and coherence could be viewed
as an attempt to encourage investment and mobilize its rapidly maturing population.
The Rita Marley Foundation is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, non-partisan organization founded
in 2000 and registered under the laws of Ghana and governed by a Board (in accordance with S. 202
of the companies code 1963, Act 179). Its operations are based on the principles of love and compassion
and also based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms
of Discrimination against women (CEDAW), the convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other regional
and international instruments which work towards the elimination of poverty and deprivation of the poor in society.
There are over 1000 local and international NGOs in Ghana. As a registered
member of the Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in Development
and the National Committee for Non-Profit Organisations, RMF is well integrated
into Ghana’s Development agenda
Learn about the Rita Marley Foundation