Dubbed “the gateway to West Africa,” Ghana is blessed with stunning natural landscapes and tourist attractions that include waterfalls, palm-lined sandy beaches, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, caves, mountains, forests, and national parks. Dozens of forts and castles, and two UNESCO World Heritage sites, round out the offerings. Officially known as the Republic of Ghana, this West African country has a coastline along the Gulf of Guinea and shares borders with Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, and Togo to the east. Ghana’s population of roughly 32.4 million comprises multiple languages and ethnic groups. About 80 Ghanaian languages are spoken, with many people speaking at least one of the 10 major Ghanaian languages: Asante, Ewe, Fante, Brong, Dagomba, Dangme, Dagaare, Kokomba, Akyem, and Ga. Ghana inherited English from Great Britain during its colonial past, and it remains the official language and lingua franca.

Carved from the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland Trust Territory, in 1957 Ghana became the first Sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain independence from British rule. Ghana was subsequently proclaimed a republic on July 1, 1960. Post-independence, the country faced political instability following a number of coup d’etats. Ghana returned to constitutional democracy in 1992, and since then the country has been one of the most stable political environments and democracies in Africa. As Africa’s largest producer of gold, and the second largest producer of cocoa (after the Ivory Coast), Ghana is also rich in other mineral resources such as diamonds, bauxite, manganese ore, and oil. The economy is fairly agrarian, with about 54 percent of Ghana’s total labor force employed in agriculture. However, high government debt, spending, and corruption, coupled with a fall in oil prices, have resulted in economic hardship.

Life expectancy in Ghana increased significantly, from age 57 to 64, between 2000 and 2019. Similarly, under-five mortality rates decreased from 99 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births. Nonetheless, the population is still vulnerable to poor health. Both communicable and non-communicable diseases contribute to the most deaths, including malaria, stroke, lower respiratory infections, neonatal disorders, ischemic heart disease, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases, diabetes, and cirrhosis. Trauma, preterm birth complications, birth asphyxia, and mortality from road injuries are also significant. In 2020, a total of 1,115 casualties from road accidents were recorded in Ghana.

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