Economy of Ghana
|Calendar year 1 January to 31 December|
|AU, AfCFTA, WTO, ECOWAS|
GDP per capita
GDP per capita rank
GDP by sector
|9.837% (2018 est.)|
Population below poverty line
|24.2% (2013 est.)|
|43.5 medium (2016, World Bank)|
|12.49 million (2017 est.)|
Labour force by occupation
|mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building, petroleum|
|Exports||$13.84 billion (2017 est.)|
|oil, gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticultural products|
Main export partners
|Imports||$12.65 billion (2017 est.)|
|capital equipment, refined petroleum, foodstuffs|
Main import partners
|−$2.131 billion (2017 est.)|
Gross external debt
|$22.14 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
|71.8% of GDP (2017 est.)|
|−6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)|
|Revenues||9.544 billion (2017 est.)|
|Expenses||12.36 billion (2017 est.)|
|$7.555 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
The economy of Ghana has a diverse and rich resource base, including the manufacturing and exportation of digital technology goods, automotive and ship construction and exportation, and the exportation of diverse and rich resources such as hydrocarbons and industrial minerals. These have given Ghana one of the highest GDP per capita in West Africa. Owing to a GDP rebasement, in 2011 Ghana became the fastest-growing economy in the world.
The Ghanaian domestic economy in 2012 revolved around services, which accounted for 50% of GDP and employed 28% of the work force. Besides the industrialization associated with minerals and oil, industrial development in Ghana remains basic, often associated with plastics (such as for chairs, plastic bags, razors and pens). 53.6% of Ghana's workforce were employed in agriculture in 2013.
Ghana is Africa's second-biggest gold producer (after South Africa) and second-largest cocoa producer. It is also rich in diamonds, manganese ore, bauxite, and oil. Most of its debt was canceled in 2005, but government spending was later allowed to balloon. Coupled with a plunge in oil prices, this led to an economic crisis that forced the government to negotiate a $920 million extended credit facility from the IMF in April 2015.
- 1 Taxation
- 2 Manufacturing
- 3 Telecommunications
- 4 Data
- 5 Imports and Exports
- 6 Private banking
- 7 Energy
- 8 Hydrocarbon and mining
- 9 Tourism
- 10 Agriculture
- 11 Ghana: Vision 2020 and industrialization
- 12 Economic transparency
- 13 References
- 14 Notes
- 15 External links
Value-added tax is a consumption tax administered in Ghana. The tax regime which started in 1998 had a single rate but since September 2007 entered into a multiple rate regime. In 1998, the rate of tax was 10% and amended in 2000 to 12.5%. The top income tax and corporate tax rates are 25%. Other taxes included with value-added tax (VAT), are national health insurance levy, and a capital gains tax. The overall tax burden was 12.1% of Ghana's total domestic income in 2013. Ghana's national budget was the equivalent of 39.8% of GDP in 2013.
Ghana's industrial base is relatively advanced. Import-substitution industries include electronics manufacturing. Rlg Communications is the first indigenous African company to assemble laptops, desktops, and mobile phones, and is West Africa's biggest information and communications technology (ICT) and mobile phone manufacturing company.
Ghana began its automotive industry with the construction of a prototype robust SUV, named the SMATI Turtle 1, intended for use in the rough African terrain. It was designed and manufactured by the Artisans of Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization. Urban electric cars have been manufactured in Ghana since 2014.
Ghana's telecommunications statistics indicated that as of 2013 there are 26,336,000 cell-phone lines in operation. Competition among mobile-phone companies in Ghana is an important part of the telecommunications industry growth of Ghana, with companies obtaining more than 80 per 100 persons as mobile and fixed-line phone users.
The mass media of Ghana is among the most liberal in Africa, with Ghana ranking as the third-freest in Africa and 30th-most free in the world on the worldwide press freedom index. Chapter 12 of the Constitution of Ghana guarantees freedom of the Ghanaian press and the independence of the mass media, and Chapter 2 prohibits censorship. Ghanaian press freedom was restored in 1992.
Ghana was one of the first countries in Africa to achieve the connection to the World Wide Web. In 2010, there were 165 licensed internet service providers in Ghana and they were running 29 of the fiber optic, and authorized networks VSAT operators were 176, of which 57 functioned, and 99 internet operators were authorized to the public, and private data and packet-switched network operators were 25.
The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017. Inflation below 5% is in green.
(in bil. US$ PPP)
|GDP per capita
(in US$ PPP)
(in % of GDP)
|1980||9.8||974||0.4 %||50.0 %||n/a|
|1981||10.3||978||−3.5 %||116.5 %||n/a|
|1982||10.2||918||−6.9 %||22.5 %||n/a|
|1983||10.1||862||−4.8 %||122.2 %||n/a|
|1984||11.4||925||9.0 %||40.0 %||n/a|
|1985||12.3||978||5.1 %||10.3 %||n/a|
|1986||13.2||1,023||5.2 %||24.5 %||n/a|
|1987||14.2||1,071||4.8 %||39.8 %||n/a|
|1988||15.5||1,142||5.6 %||31.4 %||n/a|
|1989||17.0||1,217||5.1 %||25.2 %||n/a|
|1990||18.2||1,272||3.3 %||37.2 %||28.3 %|
|1991||19.8||1,350||5.3 %||18.1 %||27.4 %|
|1992||21.0||1,399||3.9 %||10.0 %||34.1 %|
|1993||22.3||1,448||3.7 %||24.9 %||51.0 %|
|1994||23.6||1,494||3.6 %||24.9 %||76.6 %|
|1995||25.2||1,551||4.2 %||59.3 %||67.8 %|
|1996||26.8||1,611||4.6 %||44.5 %||60.5 %|
|1997||28.6||1,676||4.8 %||24.8 %||65.7 %|
|1998||30.3||1,730||4.7 %||19.2 %||57.2 %|
|1999||32.1||1,787||4.4 %||12.5 %||78.8 %|
|2000||34.0||1,847||3.7 %||25.1 %||119.1 %|
|2001||36.2||1,918||4.2 %||32.9 %||87.2 %|
|2002||38.5||1,986||4.5 %||14.8 %||81.9 %|
|2003||41.2||2,076||5.2 %||26.6 %||74.2 %|
|2004||44.7||2,195||5.6 %||12.7 %||57.6 %|
|2005||48.8||2,337||5.9 %||15.1 %||47.7 %|
|2006||53.4||2,494||6.3 %||11.7 %||26.2 %|
|2007||57.2||2,605||4.3 %||10.7 %||31.0 %|
|2008||63.7||2,827||9.2 %||16.5 %||33.6 %|
|2009||67.3||2,912||4.8 %||13.1 %||36.1 %|
|2010||73.5||3,100||7.9 %||6.7 %||46.3 %|
|2011||85.5||3,519||14.0 %||7.7 %||42.6 %|
|2012||95.3||3,822||9.3 %||7.1 %||47.9 %|
|2013||104.0||4,069||7.3 %||11.7 %||57.2 %|
|2014||110.2||4,204||4.0 %||15.5 %||70.2 %|
|2015||115.7||4,302||3.8 %||17.2 %||72.2 %|
|2016||121.3||4,399||3.7 %||17.5 %||73.4 %|
|2017||134.0||4,740||8.4 %||12.4 %||71.8 %|
Imports and Exports
Ghana's top export products in 2016 were crude petroleum ($2.66B), gold ($2.39B), cocoa beans ($2.27B), cocoa paste ($382M) and cocoa butter ($252M). Ghana's top export destinations in 2016 were Switzerland ($1.73B), China ($1.06B), France ($939M), India ($789M) and the Netherlands ($778M).
Ghana's top import categories in 2016 were refined petroleum ($2.18B), crude petroleum ($546M), gold ($428M), rice ($328M) and packaged medicaments ($297M). The nations with the highest value of imports to Ghana in 2016 were China ($4.1B), the Netherlands ($1.58B), the United States ($1.1B), Nigeria ($920M) and India ($668M).
The financial services in Ghana have seen a lot of reforms in the past years. The Banking (Amendment) Act 2007 included the awarding of a general banking license to qualified banks, which allows only indigenous Ghana offshore banks to operate in country Ghana. Indigenous Ghana private bank Capital Bank was the first to be awarded the general banking license in Ghana as well as indigenous Ghana private banks UniBank, National Investment Bank and Prudential Bank Limited. It has therefore become possible for Ghanaian non-resident individuals or residents and foreign companies or indigenous Ghana companies to open indigenous Ghana offshore bank accounts in Ghana. Indigenous Ghana retail and savings banks include Agricultural Development Bank of Ghana, CAL Bank, GCB Bank Ltd, Home Finance Company and UT Bank as well as indigenous Ghana savings and loan institutions ABii National and Savings and Loans Company.
As of December 2012, Ghana gets 49.1% of its energy from renewable energy and exports some of this to neighboring countries.
Ghana has aggressively begun the construction of solar plants across its sun-rich land in an aim to become the first country to get 6% of its energy from solar energy generation by 2016. The biggest photovoltaic (PV) and largest solar energy plant in Africa, the Nzema project will be able to provide electricity to more than 100,000 homes. This 155-megawatt plant will increase Ghana's electricity generating capacity by 6%.
Construction work on the GH¢740 million (GB£248 million) and the fourth-largest solar power plant in the world is being developed by Blue Energy, a renewable energy investment company, majority-owned and funded by members of the Stadium Group, a large private asset and development company with GB£2.5 billion under management. The project director is Douglas Coleman, from Mere Power Nzema Ltd, Ghana.
Unlike many other solar projects in Africa that use concentrated solar power, solar plants will use PV technology to convert sunlight directly into electricity. Installation of more than 630,000 solar PV modules began by the end of 2013, with electricity being generated early in 2014. It is due to reach full capacity at the end of 2015.
Ghana has Class 4–6 wind resources and high-wind locations, such as Nkwanta, the Accra Plains, and Kwahu and Gambaga mountains. The maximum energy that could be tapped from Ghana's available wind resource for electricity is estimated to be about 500–600 GWh/year. To give perspective: in 2011, per the same Energy Commission, the largest Akosombo hydroelectric dam in Ghana alone produced 6,495 GWh of electric power and, counting all Ghana's geothermal energy production in addition, the total energy generated was 11,200 GWh in that year. These assessments do not take into consideration further limiting factors such as land-use restrictions, the existing grid (or how far the wind resource may be from the grid) and accessibility. Wind energy has potential to contribute significantly to the country's energy industry. Ten percent can certainly be attained in terms of installed capacity, and about 5% of total electric generation potential from wind alone.
Ghana has put in place mechanisms to attract investments into its biomass and bio-energy sectors to stimulate rural development, create jobs and save foreign exchange. Main investments in the bio-energy subsector existed in the areas of production, are transportation, storage, distribution, sale, marketing and exportation.
The goal of Ghana regarding bio-energy, as articulated by its energy sector policy, is to modernize and examine the benefits of bio-energy on a sustainable basis. Biomass is Ghana's dominant energy resource in terms of endowment and consumption, with the two primary bio-fuels consumed being ethanol and biodiesel. To that effect, the Ghana ministry of Energy in 2010 developed its energy sector strategy and development plan. Highlights of the strategy include sustaining the supply and efficient use of wood fuels while ensuring that their utilization does not lead to deforestation.
The plan would support private sector investments in the cultivation of bio-fuel feedstock, the extraction of bio-oil, and refining it into secondary products, thereby creating financial and tax incentives. The Ghana Renewal Energy Act provides the necessary fiscal incentives for renewable energy development by the private sector, and also details the control and management of bio-fuel and wood fuel projects in Ghana. The Ghana National Petroleum Authority (NPA) was tasked by the Renewable Energy Act 2011 to price Ghana's bio-fuel blend in accordance with the prescribed petroleum pricing formula.
The combined effects of climate change and global economic turbulence had triggered a sense of urgency among Ghanaian policymakers, industry and development practitioners to find sustainable and viable solutions in the area of bio-fuels.
Brazil, which makes ethanol from maize and sugarcane, is currently the world's largest bio-fuel market.
Electricity generation is one of the key factors in achieving the development of the Ghanaian national economy, with aggressive and rapid industrialization; Ghana's national electric energy consumption was 265 kilowatts per capita in 2009. Shortages of electricity have led to dumsor (blackouts), increasing the interest in renewables.
Hydrocarbon and mining
Ghana has 5 billion barrels (790×106 m3) to 7 billion barrels (1.1×109 m3) of petroleum in reserves. A large oilfield which contains up to 3 billion barrels (480×106 m3) of sweet crude oil was discovered in 2007. Oil exploration is ongoing and the amount of oil continues to increase. Ghana produces crude oil, as of 15 December 2010, and until June 2011, Ghana exploited around 120,000 barrels per day and is expected to increase production up to 2.5 million barrels per day in 2014.
Ghana has vast natural gas reserves, which is used by many foreign multinational companies operating in Ghana. The hydrocarbon industry has had major implications for regional and urban development in Ghana and these are likely to substantially increase in the years to come 
Mining has gained importance in the Ghanaian economy since the turn of the 21st century, with a growth of around 30% in 2007. The main mining extractions are bauxite, gold (Ghana is one of the largest gold producers in the world), and the phosphates.
The Ministry of Tourism has placed great emphasis upon further tourism support and development. Tourism contributed to 4.9% of GDP in 2009, attracting around 500,000 visitors. Tourist destinations include Ghana's many castles and forts, national parks, beaches, nature reserves, landscapes and World Heritage buildings and sites.
In 2011, Forbes magazine ranked Ghana eleventh-friendliest country in the world. The assertion was based on a survey of a cross-section of travelers in 2010. Of all the countries on the African continent that were included in the survey, Ghana ranked highest.
To enter Ghana, it is necessary to have a visa authorized by the Government of Ghana, except for certain entrepreneurs on business trips.
In 2013 agriculture employed 53.6% of Ghana's total labor force. Agribusiness accounts for a small fraction of the gross domestic product. The main harvested crops are corn, plantain, rice, millet, sorghum, cassava and yam. Unlike the agricultural livestock, forestry and fishing sectors, the crop sector is key to the Ghanaian agricultural industry.
Ghana: Vision 2020 and industrialization
With the economic program "Ghana: Vision 2020", Ghana intends to achieve its goals of accelerated economic growth and improved quality of life for all its citizens, by reducing poverty through private investment, rapid and aggressive industrialization, and direct and aggressive poverty-alleviation efforts. These plans were released in the 1995 government report, Ghana: Vision 2020. Nationalization of state-owned enterprises continues, with about two thirds of 300 parastatal enterprises owned by the government of Ghana. Other reforms adopted under the government's structural adjustment program include increasing exchange rate controls and increasing autarky and increasing restrictions on imports.
The Ghana: Vision 2020 forecast assumes political stability; successful economic stabilization; the implementation of Ghana: Vision 2020 policy agenda on private sector growth; and aggressive public spending on social services, infrastructure and industrialization. It projection states that Ghana's goals of reaching high-income economy status and newly industrialized country status will be easily realized between 2020 and 2039.
|2013 exports to||2013 imports from}}|
The judicial system of Ghana deals with corruption, economic malpractice and lack of economic transparency. Despite significant economic progress, obstacles do remain. Particular institutions need reform, and property rights need improvement. The overall investment regime in Ghana lacks market transparency. Tackling these issues will be necessary if Ghana's rapid economic growth is to be maintained.
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