The Republic of Ghana is a country located in West Africa that borders Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word Ghana means "Warrior King" and derives from the Ghana Empire.
Ghana was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient predominantly Akan Kingdoms, including the Akwamu on the eastern coast, the inland Ashanti Empire and various Fante and non-Akan states, like the Ga and Ewe, along the coast and inland. Trade with European states flourished after contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the British established a Crown colony, Gold Coast, in 1874.
The Gold Coast achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan African nation to do so and the name Ghana was chosen for the new nation to reflect the ancient Empire of Ghana, which once extended throughout much of west Africa. Ghana is a member of many international organizations including the Commonwealth of Nations, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, La Francophonie (Associate Member) and the United Nations. Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world and is also home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world.
Ghana was placed 7th out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries in the 2008 Ibrahim Index of African Governance which was based on data from 2006. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African government, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens.
Ghana was created as a parliamentary democracy at independence in 1957, followed by alternating military and civilian governments. In January 1993, military government gave way to the Fourth Republic after presidential and parliamentary elections in late 1992. The 1992 constitution divides powers among a President, Parliament, Cabinet, Council of State, and an independent judiciary. The Government is elected by universal suffrage; however, the legislature is greatly malapportioned, with low-population districts receiving more representatives per person than those with high populations.
Political parties became legal in mid-1992 after a ten-year hiatus. There are many political parties under the Fourth Republic; however, the major ones are the National Democratic Congress which won presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992, 1996 and 2008; the New Patriotic Party, the major opposition party which won elections in 2000 and 2004; the People's National Convention, and the Convention People's Party, successor to Kwame Nkrumah's original party of the same name.
Foreign Relations: Since independence, Ghana has been fervently devoted to ideals of nonalignment and Pan-Africanism, both closely identified with first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana favors international and regional political and economic co-operation, and is an active member of the United Nations and the African Union.
Provinces and districts
There are ten administrative regions which are divided into 138 districts, each with its own District Assembly. Below districts are various types of councils, including 58 town or area councils, 108 zonal councils, and 626 area councils. 16,000 unit committees on lowest level.
Ghana is essentially an exporter of primary products, mainly gold, cocoa, and timber, and an importer of capital goods , foodstuffs, and fuels. (source: Nations Encyclopedia)
Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains somewhat dependent on trade and international assistance as well as the investment activities of Ghanaian diaspora. About 28% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day, the vast majority of which are Ghanaian women from the politically marginalised and poor northern and upper regions and according to the World Bank, Ghana's per capita income has barely doubled over the past 45 years. Ghana, known for its gold in colonial times, remains one of the world's top gold producers. Other exports such as cocoa, timber, electricity, diamond, bauxite, and manganese are major sources of foreign exchange monitored, operated and managed by the Presidential Ministry Agricultural Arm of the Republic of Ghana. An oilfield which is reported to contain up to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of light oil was discovered in 2007 Oil exploration is ongoing and the amount of oil continues to increase. There is expected to be a tremendous inflow of capital into the economy beginning from the last quarter of 2010 when the country starts producing oil in commercial quantities.
Sunyani Cocoa HouseThe Akosombo Dam, which was built on the Volta River in 1965 provides hydro-electricity for Ghana and its neighboring countries.
Ghana's labor force in 2008 totalled 11.5 million people. The economy continues to rely heavily on agriculture which accounts for 37.3% of GDP and provides employment for 56% of the work force, mainly small landholders. Manufacturing is only a small part of the Ghanaian economy totalling 7.9% of Gross Domestic Product in 2007.
Ineffective economic policies of past military governments and regional peacekeeping commitments have led to continued inflationary deficit financing, depreciation of the Cedi, and rising public discontent with Ghana's austerity measures. Even so, Ghana remains one of the more economically sound countries in all of Africa.
The new Ghana Cedi is relatively stable and in 2009 generally exchanged at a rate of $1 USD =Gh¢ 1.4  The Value Added Tax is a consumption tax administered in Ghana. The tax regime which started in 1998 had a single rate but since September 2007 entered into a multiple rate regime.
In 1998, the rate of tax was 10% and amended in 2000 to 12.5%. However with the passage of Act 734 of 2007, a 3% VAT Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS) began to operate for the retail distribution sector. This allows retailers of taxable goods under Act 546 to charge a marginal 3% on their sales and account on same to the VAT Service. It is aimed at simplifying the tax system and increasing compliance
Ghana has a population of about 24 million people. It is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups. Fortunately, Ghana has not seen the kind of ethnic conflict that has created civil wars in many other African countries. The official language is English; however, most Ghanaians also speak at least one local language
Since independence, Ghana has been fervently devoted to ideals of nonalignment and Pan-Africanism, both closely identified with first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana favors international and regional political and economic co-operation, and is an active member of the United Nations and the African Union.
Many Ghanaian diplomats and politicians hold positions in international organisations. These include Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, International Criminal Court Judge Akua Kuenyehia, and former president Jerry Rawlings, who was elected chairman of the Economic Community of West African