Introduction to Ghana
Ghana is a stable, democratic country with a free press, an independent judiciary, an apolitical military, and an active civil society. Ghana’s completion of free, fair, and open elections five consecutive times since 1992 is a testament to its stability and economic progress in a troubled region. The Government of Ghana and the business sector are said to be among the least corrupt in West Africa. A process of political liberalization has culminated in political rights and civil liberties indicators higher than some high middle-income countries. Civil society is active and potentially a key driver for political governance reforms.
Over the past few years, Ghana has pursued a robust macroeconomic reform agenda, which has resulted in a significant decline in poverty and steady growth in gross domestic product (GDP). The World Bank reported Ghana’s economy to grow faster than the rest of sub-Saharan Africa in 2011, at 13.4 percent, with a substantial contribution to the expected growth coming from the oil and gas sector. The Government of Ghana announced on November 8, 2010, that it had achieved its goal of reaching middle income status. Figures for FY 2010 show that agriculture is the second largest contributor to GDP at 30 percent. The economy is shifting from an agricultural base toward services but agriculture is still a major source of employment in the North. Although overall poverty levels are declining, significant regional disparities remain present. Minerals, fisheries, forestry, and wildlife represent 15 percent of GDP, and 25 percent of government revenues. To accelerate economic growth and consolidate democratic gains, Ghana is working to modernize agriculture, strengthen citizen participation in local government, improve citizen access to quality education, and strengthen delivery of health care services.
The United States and Ghana have excellent relations based on shared commitments to democracy and human rights, and collaborate on a range of regional and global issues. President Obama’s visit in July 2009 highlighted the shared goals of our people in supporting stability, democracy, good governance, and economic growth for healthy and educated populations. The U.S. is one of Ghana's principal trading partners. There are strong social and family ties between the two countries and increasing tourism and economic links. The bilateral relationship benefits from over 50 years of continuous positive engagement. Ghana had the first Peace Corps program in the world and the program has never been suspended.
USAID/Ghana is one of USAID’s oldest development assistance programs, operating in Ghana since before the agency was created in 1961. Over the last five years, program funding has doubled. Special initiatives expanded Ghana's foreign assistance budget, making it USAID’s third largest bilateral program in West Africa (behind Liberia and Nigeria).