Ghana is one of the few countries on the African continent that can demonstrate two decades of stable democracy, good economic growth and classification as a middle-income country. Ghana is a country of interest for Norway regarding collaboration in the private sector and in multilateral arenas in addition to assistance provided through the Oil for Development programme.

Facts about Ghana

The flag for Ghana
Life expectancy
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GNI pr capita
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Percentage poor people (below 1.25$)
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The flag for Ghana

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Ghana is rich in natural resources and has a far stronger economy than its neighbouring countries in West Africa. Its economy remains relatively dependent on the export of gold and cocoa, but in 2010 the country also started oil production, which resulted in rapid economic growth. Ghana still has a long way to go before the economy can transition from dependency on raw materials to a more industrialized economy.

Ghana is a member of the West African free trade organization ECOWAS. Through his role as the chairperson of ECOWAS, the president has played a central role in the sub-region regarding both the outbreak of Ebola and the political crisis in Burkina Faso.

Preparations are underway for the election in 2016, and deferred local elections are expected to be held in the second half of 2015. The country has important trade links with Western Europe and Asia. Significant cooperation has been established with China, and India, South Korea and Turkey are in the process of establishing stronger links with Ghana.

Economic growth

2014 was a difficult year for Ghana’s economy and growth fell from 7.1 per cent in 2013 to 4.2 per cent in 2014. The Ghanaian currency depreciated by 40 per cent and the country’s debt burden worsened dramatically, with a debt ratio of over 60 per cent. The Government had to request the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement a new support programme based on Ghana’s own growth strategy.

Despite this negative development, the IMF maintains that the economic outlook for Ghana in the medium term is positive. Growth is expected to accelerate when the stabilization programme has taken effect and when petroleum production increases from 2016.

In 2010 Ghana was upgraded from a low-income country to a middle-income country. The service sector now accounts for around 50 per cent of GDP, while manufacturing and agriculture account for approximately 25 per cent each. This makes Ghana a relatively modern economy compared with many other African countries.

Like many other middle-income countries, Ghana faces challenges associated with budget deficits, currency depreciation, high interest rates and an economy that is still based to a great degree on commodities.

Development cooperation with Ghana

Norway’s development cooperation with Ghana is mainly concentrated on the Oil for Development programme (OfD) . In addition, support is given to the One UN reform and to climate adaptation through the UN Development Programme (UNDP) as well as to the rights of and health initiatives for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Norway also supports the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre.

To help Ghana adapt to global climate change, Norway provides funding for the development of an early warning system for drought and flooding. The project is implemented through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the local National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO). Preparations for the deployment of automatic weather stations started towards the end of 2014 as part of this work.

As an extraordinary measure, Norway provided NOK 6.2 million to support the authorities’ Ebola outbreak response plan. This was of special importance in Ghana because the coordination of UN efforts to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was based in Accra, Ghana’s capital, and as a transit point in the sub-region, it was assessed as being particularly at risk.

Oil and development

The Oil for Development programme (OfD) in Ghana had a very active year in 2014. A comprehensive review was made of resource and environmental management measures in the petroleum sector.

A number of concrete results were documented for the last five-year period. Norway’s efforts have made a difference to the country’s petroleum management, and a Petroleum Act with a number of regulations has been drawn up.

Environmental and safety aspects have been safeguarded through the establishment of institutions and legislation. Norwegian advisors provide expertise in Ghana’s own system under Ghanaian leadership. In 2014 new detailed five-year agreements were prepared. Cooperation on good revenue management in the petroleum sector was also launched in 2014. Ghana’s Ministry of Finance is the main partner but subordinate agencies also play an active role in the cooperation.

Civil society organizations, the parliament and the media have taken part in the OfD cooperation in various ways, including in training and consultative hearings. Ghana itself has begun to pave the way more actively for women in the sector.

Peacebuilding in the region

In 2014 Norway continued to support the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra by providing NOK 4.6 million in funding. There was a nine per cent increase in the number of women taking part in courses at the Centre compared with 2013, but a decline of 28 per cent in the total number of course participants.

The decline is due to the Ebola outbreak, which makes it impossible to hold international courses. In 2014 there was a total of 1 027 course participants. Training was given for participation in the UN’s peacekeeping operations and for initiatives targeting sexualized violence in conflicts. Parliamentarians from West Africa have also benefited from KAIPTC’s training. The Centre has also conducted research on peace and security with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) as its Norwegian research partner.

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Civil society

In 2014 five NGOs received support from Norad for their work in Ghana. The organizations received altogether NOK 5.7 million. The biggest recipient was Action Aid International (AAI), which runs a project aimed at increasing young women’s access to safe work and to increased awareness of sexual and reproductive rights.

Other recipients included the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) which cooperates with local trade unions, Oxfam which works in the field of petroleum management, Norcode whose work is related to music copyright, and the Revenue Watch Institute which contributes to transparency regarding petroleum activities in Ghana.

Published 28.08.2014
Last updated 02.10.2015