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Geography—note: Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake; northeasterly harmattan wind (January to March)

total: 238,540 sq km
land: 230,020 sq km
water: 8,520 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon

Coastline: 539 km

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

Terrain: mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area

Natural resources: gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber

Environment—current issues: recent drought in north severely affecting agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water

Population: 18,497,206 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 3,985,219; female 3,947,640)
15-64 years: 54% (male 4,905,442; female 5,077,521)
65 years and over: 3% (male 275,192; female 306,192) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.13% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 32.81 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.63 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 77.53 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 56.82 years
male: 54.77 years
female: 58.92 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.27 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Ethnic groups: black African 99.8% (major tribes—Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%), European and other 0.2%

Religions: indigenous beliefs 38%, Muslim 30%, Christian 24%, other 8%

Languages: English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 64.5%
male: 75.9%
female: 53.5% (1995 est.)

National capital: Accra

Independence: 6 March 1957 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 6 March (1957)

Constitution: new constitution approved 28 April 1992

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Congress or NDC [Dr. Huudu YAHAYA, general secretary]; New Patriotic Party or NPP [Peter Ala ADJETY]; People's Heritage Party or PHP [Emmanuel Alexander ERSKINE]; National Convention Party or NCP [Sarpong KUMA-KUMA]; Every Ghanian Living Everywhere or EGLE [Owuraku AMOFA, chairman]; Peoples Convention Party or PCP [P. K. DONKOH-AYIFI, acting chairman]; Peoples National Convention or PNC [Edward MAHAMA]

Economy—overview: Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold, timber, and cocoa production are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 41% of GDP and employs 60% of the work force, mainly small landholders. In 1995-97, Ghana made mixed progress under a three-year structural adjustment program in cooperation with the IMF. On the minus side, public sector wage increases and regional peacekeeping commitments have led to continued inflationary deficit financing, depreciation of the cedi, and rising public discontent with Ghana's austerity measures.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$36.2 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1997 est.)

Agriculture—products: cocoa, rice, coffee, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber

total value: $1.57 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: gold 39%, cocoa 35%, timber 9.4%, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, and diamonds (1996 est.)
partners: UK, Germany, US, Netherlands, Japan, Nigeria

total value: $1.84 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
commodities: capital equipment, petroleum, consumer goods, foods, intermediate goods
partners: UK, Nigeria, US, Germany, Japan, Netherlands

Debt—external: $5.2 billion (1996 est.)

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 4,386,728 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 2,434,732 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $30 million (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 0.8% (1994)

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