Located in West Africa, the Gold Coast was the first sub-Saharan African colony to achieve independence in 1957. Now a stable constitutional democracy with a GDP per capita of US$1,100 in 2009, Ghana is considered a lower middle-income country by the World Bank. Ghana’s GDP grew by 4.7% in 2009, and the production of oil from 2011 is expected to have a significant positive impact on GDP growth (World Bank statistics). Ghana has already achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty and is on track to halving the overall poverty rate as well (UNDP statistics).
However, Ghana still faces significant development challenges. Poverty rates vary widely by region, with the Northern regions making far less progress than other areas. Ghana’s economy remains reliant on raw natural resources such as cocoa and gold, with limited value-added processing taking place. The discovery of oil threatens to exacerbate this situation, unless the revenue is wisely used to increase productivity in other sectors such as agriculture (UNDP analysis).
Ghana has been chosen as the reference country because of its growth aim to become a middle income country by 2020, which both involves a requirement to meet significantly increasing energy demands, and a need to address continued, widespread and regionally unevenly distributed poverty. The increasing variability of environmental conditions as a result of climate change adds to the challenges. At the same time Ghana features a maturing institutional environment, and has extensive links with the global institutions studied in the project. Its civil society and corporate actors are contributing actively to policy formation.
On the Publications tab above, we will release findings from this project about how Ghanaian policies in relation to energy, food security and vulnerability, and public health are taking into account climate change. On the External documents and links tab, we will post key documents about these issues collected during the course of our research.