Ghana - Overview of economy

Ghana's formerly strong economy has been the victim of instability resulting from a series of military coups

and economic mismanagement in the period from independence in 1958 to 1983. A highly protected economyand substantial government investment created a largebut inefficient manufacturing sector by the mid-1980s.Over the last 15 years, economic reforms, including substantial privatizations , have resulted in a small but viable industrial sector.

Ghana has a considerable endowment of natural resources (timber, fertile agricultural land and fishing grounds, and minerals). Agriculture constituted about 40 percent of GDP in 1999 and employed 60 percent of the labor force . The main export crop is cocoa. Coffee, palm products, and tropical fruits are exported in smaller quantities. Other crops include cassava, yams, corn, sorghum, and rice, while goats and sheep are the principal livestock reared. Timber is also an important export. Fishing is important to the domestic market, with some exports of tuna.

Industry contributes about 30 percent of the GDP and employs 15 percent of the labor force. Ghana's industries include mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum, and food processing. Mineral exports— mainly gold, manganese, diamonds, and bauxite—account for a large part of the country's earnings. Petroleum is extracted in small quantities offshore between Saltpond and Cape Coast, and exploration in other areas is under way. Manufacturing is dominated by import substitution industries, producing food products, beverages, tobacco, textiles, timber and wood products, refined petroleum, vehicles, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, cement, and metals. Electricity is generated almost entirely from hydroelectric plants, mainly the Akosombo Dam on the Volta River.

Services contribute 30 percent of GDP and employ only 25 percent of the labor force. Trade, transportation, financial services, and public administration are the main activities.

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