Ghana is endowed with abundant natural wealth, including vast agricultural, mining and human resources. Along with its growing manufacturing sector, agriculture remains a key sector of the economy. The agrarian sector employs 60 percent of the Ghanaian workforce and makes up almost 44 percent of the country’s GDP. Cocoa is the second-largest export, and new exports such as wood products, textiles, jewelry, pineapples, tuna fish and cotton are rapidly diversifying Ghana’s agricultural export profile. The country has over 13.6 million hectares of arable land suitable for crops or livestock, and a potential annual production of 655,000 metric tons of fisheries products.
In addition to agricultural wealth, Ghana is also rich in mineral resources. Gold recently replaced cocoa as the country’s primary export, with diamonds, aluminum and bauxite accounting for a large part of the country’s exports. The mining industry was liberalized in 1987, and strategic investors such as de Beers, Lonrho, and others from the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Britain have already taken advantage of the new business opportunities.
Gold output rose to some 1.6 million ounces in 1995, and the Ghana Minerals Commission estimates that the 1996 output will reach 1.84 million ounces. Diamond production rose by an estimated 60 percent in 1994, and a continued rise is expected.
Ghana’s industrious, well-educated workforce is one of the country’s most valuable resources. There is a strong primary, secondary and higher education infrastructure, and literacy rates average 53 percent, one of the highest in the continent. Industrial growth, led by the mining, food processing and textile sectors, reached about 7 percent by the end of 1995.
According to The Economist magazine, the performance of Ghana’s agricultural and mining sectors combined should lead to 5.5 percent GDP growth in 1995, and 5 percent GDP growth in 1996.