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Ghana, Economy

Before the arrival of European colonists in the 1400s, farming, herding, and fishing were the main indigenous Ghanaian economic activities, with smaller numbers of people mining for gold. With the establishment of complete colonial control in the late 1800s, the territory’s economy was drawn fully into the world capitalist system, and gold was exported in large quantities to Europe. Ghanaian farmers produced cash crops such as cacao for the export market. European merchants, however, dominated the export and import economy. Upon independence in 1957, the state assumed greater involvement in the national economy. From the late 1960s through the 1970s, Ghana experienced severe economic decline as a result of political instability. By the mid-1980s, however, economic recovery programs were underway to encourage and expand private sector investments. Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) supported the reform programs. In the mid-1980s the government promoted industries using local raw materials and private investment in food production. From 1990 to 2000, Ghana’s economy grew an average of 4.3 percent each year.

Ghana reported a gross domestic product (GDP) of $5.2 billion, or $270 per capita, in 2000. Of the total GDP, 39.3 percent was from the service sector, 35.3 percent from agriculture, and 25.4 percent from industrial productions.

The state has been responsible for the provision of infrastructure installations and facilities since colonial times. Despite efforts to increase privatization in the mid-1980s, the government funds almost all road construction and installation of new power and telephone lines.

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