Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Ghana – trade and trade related issues

Working Papers

Ghana – trade and trade related issues

Ghana – trade and trade related issues

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The World Bank reports that Ghana is a medium sized country in west Africa, with a land area of around the same size as the United Kingdom or Uganda. The reported population in 2012 was around 25 million (the same as Mozambique and a bit more than Australia), giving the country a population density of 109 inhabitants/km². This density is very similar to Hungary and Cuba. The Bank also reports Ghana as being a lower middle income country with a GDP of around $40 billion, a figure sandwiched between Kenya and Ethiopia. This leads into a Gross National Income (GNI) average of $1,550 per capita, similar to that in India, Vietnam and Lesotho.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) reports that some 68% and 32% living in the rural and urban areas respectively. About 52% of the labour force is engaged in agriculture, 29% in services and 19% in industry. Approximately 39% of farm labour force is women. Agriculture contributes 54% of Ghana’s GDP and accounts for over 40% of export earnings while at the same time providing over 90% of the food needs of the country. Ghana’s agriculture is predominantly smallholder, traditional and rain-fed.

Farming systems vary with agro-ecological zones, although staple crops are often mixed-cropped while cash crops are usually monocropped. In the forest zone the tree crops of cocoa, oil palm, coffee and rubber are importance, along with the food crops of maize, plantain, cocoyam and cassava. The middle belt is mainly maize, legumes, cocoyam or yam, with tobacco and cotton being the main cash crops. Cotton and tobacco are also important in the northern sector, where the food crops are mainly sorghum, maize, millet, cowpeas, groundnuts and yam. Rice is important in all the zones. Livestock farming is associated with crop farming, with poultry in the south, cattle production in the Savannah zones and sheep and goat production widespread.


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Ghana – trade and trade related issues - Author(s): Johann Boonzaaier, Ron Sandrey and William Mwanza

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