Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivered the 3rd Annual Commonwealth Lecture, on ‘Africa Wants to Trade its Way out of Poverty’, in 2000.
Four Ghanaians have been regional winners in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Ama Ata Aidoo (1992), Lawrence Darmani (1992), Lucy Safo (1994) and Benjamin Kwakye (1999 and 2006).
Abédi Pelé, born in Accra, Ghana, in 1964, was voted African Footballer of the Year in 1991, 1992 and 1993.
The Republic of Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, is a West African country lying on the Gulf of Guinea. It is surrounded (clockwise, from the west) by Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo.
Ghana has ten regions: Greater Accra, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Western. After Greater Accra, Ashanti is the most populated region; Upper West, the least.
Accra (capital, pop. 2.45m in 2010), Kumasi (Ashanti, 1.93m), Tamale (Northern, 466,700), Ashiaman (Greater Accra, 289,100), Takoradi (Western, 273,900), Cape Coast (Central, 182,900), Teshie (Greater Accra, 182,100), Tema (Greater Accra, 178,800), Obuasi (Ashanti, 173,100), Sekondi (Western, 156,200), Madina (Greater Accra, 140,800), Koforidua (Eastern, 111,700), Wa (Upper West, 96,500), Techiman (Brong Ahafo, 91,400), Nungua (Greater Accra, 89,100), Tema New Town (Greater Accra, 87,400), Ho (Volta, 83,700), Sunyani (Brong Ahafo, 83,600), Bawku (Upper East, 66,200) and Bolgatanga (Upper East, 63,500).
There are 109,520 km of roads, 13 per cent paved, and a 953-km railway network, connecting Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, originally built mainly to link mining centres to the ports but also provides passenger services.
Main ports are at Tema, near Accra, and Takoradi, and the main international airport is at Accra (Kotoka), 10 km to the north of the city; other airports are at Takoradi, Kumasi, Sunyani and Tamale.
Ghana is a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, United Nations and World Trade Organization.
The Black Volta, Red Volta and White Volta rivers merge into one river Volta, which has been dammed at Akosombo to form Lake Volta (approximately 8,482 sq km). There are hills to the north (averaging 500 metres), but the country is generally flat. The central forest area is broken up into ridges and valleys. There are lagoons on the coast, and many sandy beaches with coconut trees.
Tropical; warm and fairly dry in northern areas, hot and humid on the coastal belt. Temperatures usually range between 21°C and 32°C. Annual rainfall varies from 700 mm to 2,150 mm. In 2007, large parts of West Africa were the subject of severe flooding. Ghana was the worst hit with more than 300,000 of its people made homeless.
The most significant environmental issues are deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion; drought in the north; poaching and habitat destruction threatening wildlife populations; and water pollution and inadequate supplies of drinking water.
Grass occurs on much of the central plain, dense rainforest in the south and west; woodland and dry savannah to the north. Forest covers 21 per cent of the land area, having declined at 2.0 per cent p.a. 1990–2010. Arable land comprises 21 per cent and permanent cropland 12 per cent of the total land area.
Ghana is rich in animal life and in 2003 had protected areas comprising 5.6 per cent of the total land area. The Mole National Park comprises some 736 sq km in the western part of the northern region of Damonoyo and has many species including elephants, hippos, eagles, kites and hornbills. The Digya National Park on the shores of Lake Volta has hippos, water bucks, crocodiles and manatees. There are 222 species of mammals, 16 of which are endangered, and 206 species of birds, 16 endangered (2014).