Transforming African Economies - Factsheet on Ghana

  • Ghana has long been regarded as one of the most successful countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It recently attained middle-income status and will likely achieve the first Millennium Development Goal of cutting poverty in half before the target year of 2015.

  • Ghana is also one of the most urbanized countries on the continent and the urban population is already larger than the rural one.

  • While agriculture is still an important sector in the economy in terms of its importance to rural livelihoods, its share of GDP has declined to about 35 percent.

  • Unlike many Asian and Latin American countries, in which growth in manufacturing led to their successful transformations from agriculture-based to urban, industrialized economies, Ghana’s path has been very different. Most jobs created by urbanization are informal ones, concentrated in domestically-oriented services and construction activities, rather than manufacturing. In addition, cocoa and gold still dominate exports.

  • The transformation of Ghana’s agricultural sector has been limited. Cocoa continues to lead agricultural exports, and much of the recent agricultural growth is still driven by land expansion rather than improved productivity, especially for major crops such as maize, rice, and cassava.

  • Urbanization and growing incomes have increased demand for processed food, such as poultry and other meat products, as well as convenient staples, such as rice, but local products have not been competitive in meeting these demands. Ghana currently imports around 60 percent of its rice and 90 percent of its poultry.

  • Ghana has significantly reduced poverty in the last 15 years, with poverty reduction greatest in the south of the country. Most of Ghana’s poor people live in the north, where the poverty rate is still very high.