Photos of Ghana



Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first Sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana endured a series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, RAWLINGS won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996 but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John KUFUOR of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. John Atta MILLS of the National Democratic Congress won the 2008 presidential election and took over as head of state. MILLS died in July 2012 and was constitutionally succeeded by his vice president, John Dramani MAHAMA, who subsequently won the December 2012 presidential election. In 2016, Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO of the NPP defeated MAHAMA, marking the third time that Ghana’s presidency has changed parties since the return to democracy.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo


total: 238,533 sq km

land: 227,533 sq km

water: 11,000 sq km

country comparison to the world: 82

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Oregon

Land boundaries

total: 2,420 km

border countries (3): Burkina Faso 602 km, Cote d'Ivoire 720 km, Togo 1098 km


539 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm


tropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north


mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area


mean elevation: 190 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Afadjato 885 m

Natural resources

gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt, limestone

Land use

agricultural land: 69.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 20.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 11.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 36.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 21.2% (2018 est.)

other: 9.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

340 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population is concentrated in the southern half of the country, with the highest concentrations being on or near the Atlantic coast as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

dry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds from January to March; droughts

Geography - note

Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake (manmade reservoir) by surface area (8,482 sq km; 3,275 sq mi); the lake was created following the completion of the Akosombo Dam in 1965, which holds back the White Volta and Black Volta Rivers

People and Society


32,372,889 (July 2021 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

country comparison to the world: 44


noun: Ghanaian(s)

adjective: Ghanaian

Ethnic groups

Akan 47.5%, Mole-Dagbon 16.6%, Ewe 13.9%, Ga-Dangme 7.4%, Gurma 5.7%, Guan 3.7%, Grusi 2.5%, Mande 1.1%, other 1.4% (2010 est.)


Asante 16%, Ewe 14%, Fante 11.6%, Boron (Brong) 4.9%, Dagomba 4.4%, Dangme 4.2%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.9%, Kokomba 3.5%, Akyem 3.2%, Ga 3.1%, other 31.2% (2010 est.)

note: English is the official language


Christian 71.2% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 28.3%, Protestant 18.4%, Catholic 13.1%, other 11.4%), Muslim 17.6%, traditional 5.2%, other 0.8%, none 5.2% (2010 est.)

Demographic profile

Ghana has a young age structure, with approximately 57% of the population under the age of 25. Its total fertility rate fell significantly during the 1980s and 1990s but has stalled at around four children per woman for the last few years. Fertility remains higher in the northern region than the Greater Accra region. On average, desired fertility has remained stable for several years; urban dwellers want fewer children than rural residents. Increased life expectancy, due to better health care, nutrition, and hygiene, and reduced fertility have increased Ghana’s share of elderly persons; Ghana’s proportion of persons aged 60+ is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty has declined in Ghana, but it remains pervasive in the northern region, which is susceptible to droughts and floods and has less access to transportation infrastructure, markets, fertile farming land, and industrial centers. The northern region also has lower school enrollment, higher illiteracy, and fewer opportunities for women.

Ghana was a country of immigration in the early years after its 1957 independence, attracting labor migrants largely from Nigeria and other neighboring countries to mine minerals and harvest cocoa – immigrants composed about 12% of Ghana’s population in 1960. In the late 1960s, worsening economic and social conditions discouraged immigration, and hundreds of thousands of immigrants, mostly Nigerians, were expelled.

During the 1970s, severe drought and an economic downturn transformed Ghana into a country of emigration; neighboring Cote d’Ivoire was the initial destination. Later, hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians migrated to Nigeria to work in its booming oil industry, but most were deported in 1983 and 1985 as oil prices plummeted. Many Ghanaians then turned to more distant destinations, including other parts of Africa, Europe, and North America, but the majority continued to migrate within West Africa. Since the 1990s, increased emigration of skilled Ghanaians, especially to the US and the UK, drained the country of its health care and education professionals. Internally, poverty and other developmental disparities continue to drive Ghanaians from the north to the south, particularly to its urban centers.

Age structure

0-14 years: 37.44% (male 5,524,932/female 5,460,943)

15-24 years: 18.64% (male 2,717,481/female 2,752,601)

25-54 years: 34.27% (male 4,875,985/female 5,177,959)

55-64 years: 5.21% (male 743,757/female 784,517)

65 years and over: 4.44% (male 598,387/female 703,686) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.4

youth dependency ratio: 62.2

elderly dependency ratio: 5.3

potential support ratio: 17.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 21.4 years

male: 21 years

female: 21.9 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 184

Birth rate

29.08 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 32

Death rate

6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Net migration rate

-0.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

Population distribution

population is concentrated in the southern half of the country, with the highest concentrations being on or near the Atlantic coast as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 57.3% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 3.34% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

3.390 million Kumasi, 2.557 million ACCRA (capital), 991,000 Sekondi Takoradi (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

22.3 years (2017 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

308 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Infant mortality rate

total: 33.33 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 36.86 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 29.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 69.01 years

male: 67.33 years

female: 70.74 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.4% of population

rural: 80.6% of population

total: 89.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.6% of population

rural: 19.4% of population

total: 10.1% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 84.2% of population

rural: 49.5% of population

total: 68.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 15.8% of population

rural: 50.5% of population

total: 31.3% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 76.6%

male: 82%

female: 71.4% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 12 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 9.1%

male: 9.4%

female: 8.7% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 132


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Ghana

conventional short form: Ghana

former: Gold Coast

etymology: named for the medieval West African kingdom of the same name but whose location was actually further north than the modern country

Government type

presidential republic


name: Accra

geographic coordinates: 5 33 N, 0 13 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name derives from the Akan word "nkran" meaning "ants," and refers to the numerous anthills in the area around the capital

Administrative divisions

16 regions; Ahafo, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, North East, Northern, Oti, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western, Western North


6 March 1957 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 March (1957)


history: several previous; latest drafted 31 March 1992, approved and promulgated 28 April 1992, entered into force 7 January 1993

amendments: proposed by Parliament; consideration requires prior referral to the Council of State, a body of prominent citizens who advise the president of the republic; passage of amendments to "entrenched" constitutional articles (including those on national sovereignty, fundamental rights and freedoms, the structure and authorities of the branches of government, and amendment procedures) requires approval in a referendum by at least 40% participation of eligible voters and at least 75% of votes cast, followed by at least two-thirds majority vote in Parliament, and assent of the president; amendments to non-entrenched articles do not require referenda; amended 1996

Legal system

mixed system of English common law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Ghana

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO (since 7 January 2017); Vice President Mahamudu BAWUMIA (since 7 January 2017); the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO (since 7 January 2017); Vice President Mahamudu BAWUMIA (since 7 January 2017)

cabinet: Council of Ministers; nominated by the president, approved by Parliament

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 7 December 2020 (next to be held in December 2024)

election results: Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO (NPP) 51.3%, John Dramani MAHAMA (NDC) 47.4%, other 1.3%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (275 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 7 December 2020 (next to be held in December 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party (preliminary) - NPC 137, NDC 136, other 1, independent 1; composition - NA

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 13 justices)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president in consultation with the Council of State (a small advisory body of prominent citizens) and with the approval of Parliament; other justices appointed by the president upon the advice of the Judicial Council (an 18-member independent body of judicial, military and police officials, and presidential nominees) and on the advice of the Council of State; justices can retire at age 60, with compulsory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Circuit Court; District Court; regional tribunals

Political parties and leaders

All Peoples Congress or APC [Hassan AYARIGA]
Convention People's Party or CPP [Edmund N. DELLE]
Ghana Freedom Party or GFP [Akua DONKOR]
Ghana Union Movement or GUM [Christian Kwabena ANDREWS]
Great Consolidated Popular Party or GCPP [Henry Herbert LARTEY]
Liberal Party of Ghana or LPG [Kofi AKPALOO]
National Democratic Congress or NDC [John Dramani MAHAMA]
National Democratic Party or NDP [Nana Konadu Agyeman RAWLINGS]
New Patriotic Party or NPP [Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO]
People's Action Party or PAP [Imoru AYARNA]
People's National Convention or PNC [Edward MAHAMA]
Progressive People's Party or PPP [Paa Kwesi NDUOM]
United Front Party or UFP [Dr. Nana A. BOATENG]
United Progressive Party or UPP [Akwasi Addai ODIKE]

note: Ghana has more than 20 registered parties; included are those which participated in the 2020 general election

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Barfour ADJEI-BARWUAH (since 21 July 2017)

chancery: 3512 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 686-4520

FAX: [1] (202) 686-4527

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Stephanie S. SULLIVAN (since 30 November 2018)

telephone: [233] 030-274-1000

embassy: 24 Fourth Circular Rd., Cantonments, Accra

mailing address: P.O. Box 194, Accra

FAX: [233] 030-274-1389

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green, with a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; red symbolizes the blood shed for independence, yellow represents the country's mineral wealth, while green stands for its forests and natural wealth; the black star is said to be the lodestar of African freedom

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; similar to the flag of Bolivia, which has a coat of arms centered in the yellow band

National symbol(s)

black star, golden eagle; national colors: red, yellow, green, black

National anthem

name: God Bless Our Homeland Ghana

lyrics/music: unknown/Philip GBEHO

note: music adopted 1957, lyrics adopted 1966; the lyrics were changed twice, in 1960 when a republic was declared and after a 1966 coup


Economic overview

Ghana has a market-based economy with relatively few policy barriers to trade and investment in comparison with other countries in the region, and Ghana is endowed with natural resources. Ghana's economy was strengthened by a quarter century of relatively sound management, a competitive business environment, and sustained reductions in poverty levels, but in recent years has suffered the consequences of loose fiscal policy, high budget and current account deficits, and a depreciating currency.

Agriculture accounts for about 20% of GDP and employs more than half of the workforce, mainly small landholders. Gold, oil, and cocoa exports, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. Expansion of Ghana’s nascent oil industry has boosted economic growth, but the fall in oil prices since 2015 reduced by half Ghana’s oil revenue. Production at Jubilee, Ghana's first commercial offshore oilfield, began in mid-December 2010. Production from two more fields, TEN and Sankofa, started in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The country’s first gas processing plant at Atuabo is also producing natural gas from the Jubilee field, providing power to several of Ghana’s thermal power plants.

As of 2018, key economic concerns facing the government include the lack of affordable electricity, lack of a solid domestic revenue base, and the high debt burden. The AKUFO-ADDO administration has made some progress by committing to fiscal consolidation, but much work is still to be done. Ghana signed a $920 million extended credit facility with the IMF in April 2015 to help it address its growing economic crisis. The IMF fiscal targets require Ghana to reduce the deficit by cutting subsidies, decreasing the bloated public sector wage bill, strengthening revenue administration, boosting tax revenues, and improving the health of Ghana’s banking sector. Priorities for the new administration include rescheduling some of Ghana’s $31 billion debt, stimulating economic growth, reducing inflation, and stabilizing the currency. Prospects for new oil and gas production and follow through on tighter fiscal management are likely to help Ghana’s economy in 2018.

Real GDP growth rate

8.4% (2017 est.)

3.7% (2016 est.)

3.8% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

8.4% (2019 est.)

9.8% (2018 est.)

12.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 202

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2013)

Moody's rating: B3 (2015)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$164.64 billion (2019 est.)

$154.623 billion (2018 est.)

$145.509 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 74

GDP (official exchange rate)

$65.363 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$5,413 (2019 est.)

$5,194 (2018 est.)

$4,997 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 170

Gross national saving

20.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

22.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

9% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 18.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 24.5% (2017 est.)

services: 57.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 80.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 8.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 13.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 43% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -46.5% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 60 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 85 (2020)

Trading score: 54.8 (2020)

Enforcement score: 54 (2020)

Agricultural products

cassava, yams, plantains, maize, oil palm fruit, taro, rice, cocoa, oranges, pineapples


mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building, petroleum

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 44.7%

industry: 14.4%

services: 40.9% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2%

highest 10%: 32.8% (2006)


revenues: 9.544 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 12.36 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

71.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

73.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$2.131 billion (2017 est.)

-$2.86 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169


$13.84 billion (2017 est.)

$11.14 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Exports - partners

Switzerland 23%, India 17%, China 12%, United Arab Emirates 8%, South Africa 8% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, crude petroleum, cocoa products, manganese, cashews (2019)


$12.65 billion (2017 est.)

$12.91 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Imports - partners

China 24%, Nigeria 22%, United States 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

metal tubing, ships, cars, refined petroleum, rice (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$7.555 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$6.162 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Debt - external

$20.467 billion (2019 est.)

$17.885 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Exchange rates

cedis (GHC) per US dollar -

5.86 (2020 est.)

5.68 (2019 est.)

4.9 (2018 est.)

3.712 (2014 est.)

2.895 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 85% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 93% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 75% (2019)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 272,801

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 38,571,189

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 134.32 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: highly competitive Internet market; govt. helped fund programs for telecom services nationally; mobile accounts for how people access the Internet; LTE service launched in 2019; the government invested in fiber infrastructure and set up 600 additional towers to provide basic mobile services; m-money inter-operability launched; international submarine cables and new terrestrial cables have improved Internet capacity and reduced price for end-users; one of the most active mobile markets in Africa (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 1 per 100 subscriptions; competition among multiple mobile-cellular providers has spurred growth with a subscribership of more than 134 per 100 persons and rising (2019)

international: country code - 233; landing points for the SAT-3/WASC, MainOne, ACE, WACS and GLO-1 fiber-optic submarine cables that provide connectivity to South and West Africa, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); microwave radio relay link to Panaftel system connects Ghana to its neighbors; Ghana-1 satellite launched in 2020 (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

state-owned TV station, 2 state-owned radio networks; several privately owned TV stations and a large number of privately owned radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are accessible; several cable and satellite TV subscription services are obtainable

Internet users

total: 10,959,964

percent of population: 39% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 62,320

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 130


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 467,438 (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 7 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)


394 km gas, 20 km oil, 361 km refined products (2013)


total: 947 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 947 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)

country comparison to the world: 92


total: 109,515 km (2009)

paved: 13,787 km (2009)

unpaved: 95,728 km (2009)

country comparison to the world: 45


1,293 km (168 km for launches and lighters on Volta, Ankobra, and Tano Rivers; 1,125 km of arterial and feeder waterways on Lake Volta) (2011)

country comparison to the world: 56

Merchant marine

total: 50

by type: general cargo 6, oil tanker 3, other 41 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 119

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Takoradi, Tema

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Ghana Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force (2021)

Military expenditures

0.4% of GDP (2019)

0.4% of GDP (2018)

0.3% of GDP (2017)

0.3% of GDP (2016)

0.4% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 159

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Ghana Armed Forces consists of approximately 14,000 active personnel (10,000 Army; 2,000 Navy; 2,000 Air Force) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Ghana Armed Forces is a mix of Russian, Chinese, and Western equipment; since 2010, it has received armaments from a variety of suppliers, led by
China, Germany, Russia, and Spain (2020)

Military deployments

150 Mali (MINUSMA); 875 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 850 South Sudan (UNMISS) (Jan 2021)

note: Ghana has pledged to maintain about 1,000 military personnel in readiness for UN peacekeeping missions

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for voluntary military service, with basic education certificate; no conscription (2019)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea remain a very high risk for piracy and armed robbery of ships; in 2020, there were 98 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea region; although a 24% decrease from the total number of incidents in 2019, it included all three hijackings and 9 of 11 ships fired upon worldwide; while boarding and attempted boarding to steal valuables from ships and crews are the most common types of incidents, almost a third of all incidents involve a hijacking and/or kidnapping; in 2020, a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, representing 95% of kidnappings worldwide; approximately 51% of all incidents of piracy and armed robbery are taking place off Nigeria, which is a decrease from the 71% in 2019 and an indication pirates are traveling further to target vessels; Nigerian pirates are well armed and very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore; the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2021-002 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 9 January 2021, which states in part, "Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom continue to serve as significant threats to US-flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

disputed maritime border between Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 6,340 (Cote d'Ivoire) (flight from 2010 post-election fighting) (2021)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the trafficking of Ghanians, particularly children, internally is more common than the trafficking of foreign nationals; Ghanian children are subjected to forced labor in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, mining, quarrying, herding, and agriculture, with girls, and to a lesser extent boys, forced into prostitution; Ghanian women, sometimes lured with legitimate job offers, and girls are sex trafficked in West Africa, the Middle East, and Europe; Ghanian men fraudulently recruited for work in the Middle East are subjected to forced labor or prostitution, and a few Ghanian adults have been identified as victims of false labor in the US; women and girls from Vietnam, China, and neighboring West African countries are sex trafficked in Ghana; the country is also a transit point for sex trafficking from West Africa to Europe

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Ghana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; Ghana continued to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses but was unable to ramp up its anti-trafficking efforts in 2014 because the government failed to provide law enforcement or protection agencies with operating budgets; victim protection efforts decreased in 2014, with significantly fewer victims identified; most child victims were referred to NGO-run facilities, but care for adults was lacking because the government did not provide any support to the country’s Human Trafficking Fund for victim services or its two shelters; anti-trafficking prevention measures increased modestly, including reconvening of the Human Trafficking Management Board, public awareness campaigns on child labor and trafficking, and anti-trafficking TV and radio programs (2015)

Illicit drugs

illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; major transit hub for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin and, to a lesser extent, South American cocaine destined for Europe and the US; widespread crime and money-laundering problem, but the lack of a well-developed financial infrastructure limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center; significant domestic cocaine and cannabis use