Ghana is a country with the rich history and interesting traditions. Like many other African countries, it always struggled for its independence and better life conditions. Many ethnic groups in contemporary Ghana were formed as a result of several successive waves of migration. Some of them (Akan people) came from the north; the other (Ewe) came from the east. In the 15th century, Fanti (one of the Akan groups) appeared on the coast, where the indigenous population was expelled. The first Akan peoples traded and fought with each other until the 17 century when the powerful Ashanti took the expansion from their capital Kumasi, subduing and uniting the forest zones into a confederation.
Presumably, the part of the Akan tribes arrived on the coast of the medieval empire of Ghana after its collapse in the 11th century. However, it is known for sure that by the time the first Europeans came in the late 15th century, territorial and political units already existed and the population was engaged in trade and agriculture.
European traders were attracted by gold, ivory and spices, but soon these products were substituted by the slave trading. The slave trade was the main reason for the territorial expansion of the Ashanti and the construction of European forts and trading posts on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, where they made ??alliances with local public entities. By the end of the 18th century, the rivalry between the European states for the control over the coast ended in favor of the UK, which led to conflict with the Ashanti confederation. 19th century was marked by local wars between the British, entrenched on the coast, and Ashanti, who dominated in the interior regions. It should be noted that the wars were held with varying degrees of success, however, overall the odds were on the side of Ashanti until the 1870s. Afterwards, the British troops under the command of Garnet Wolseley made ??a rapid march to the Ashantis capital Kumasi and burned it. Since then, Ashanti confederation began to decline.
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After the Ashanti uprising in 1900, when the British garrison in Kumasi was under the siege more than a month, the UK introduced a regime of military rule. In the 19th century, British fought with Ashanti as well as searched for optimal forms of coastal management; the coast became a British colony and called the Gold Coast in 1874. The name “Gold Coast” was extended to all three British possessions – Gold Coast (actually a colony), Ashanti and the Northern Territories. In 1919, Western Togo was annexed to the Gold Coast as well, whose mandate to govern the UK has received from the League of Nations.
In 1850, the Legislative Council was organized on the coast of present-day Ghana, but for a long time, it mostly included British colonial officials, while the representatives of community were appointed by the governor. In fact, they were in the minority. Elective representation of Africans in the Legislative Council was introduced only in 1925. It should be noted that only the minuscule portion of the leaders of the urban population, who were responsible by property and educational qualifications, participated in those elections. In 1946, due to the inclusion of representatives of the Ashanti, the Legislative Council was expanded, and for the first time it included more elected members than appointed officials. The representatives of the Northern Territories were first elected to the Legislative Council in 1951. In February 1948, the wave of rioting and looting in major cities forced the colonial administration to expedite the process of constitutional reforms. The postwar rise in prices for imported goods, the damages inflicted by the disease of the chocolate trees and the general increase of the national liberation movement were the main causes of uprisings.
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In 1947, the lawyers and entrepreneurs created the Joint convention of the Gold Coast in order to fight for self-government by constitutional means. Unrest of 1948 showed the growth of political consciousness among other African population – officials, teachers, drivers, small traders and peasants. In January 1950, mass demonstrations against the new constitution, which although provided a greater participation of Africans in the management of the Gold Coast, but did not guarantee the real self. This protest campaign was led by Kwame Nkrumah.
In March 6, 1957 the independence of Ghana was proclaimed. However, the threat to the integrity and security of Ghana persisted even after the independence. Central government quickly managed to establish control over the Ashanti. However, the Congress Party Togo prepared an armed uprising on the eve of the country’s independence. A considerable part of the educated elite remained in opposition to the government.
Ghana always sought liberation from colonial rule for the whole Africa, as well as the establishment of a political union, without which the independence of Ghana was meaningless. According to the initiative of Nkrumah, the first conference of Independent African States (April, 1958) and the First Conference of African Peoples (December, 1958) were held in Accra. Ghana had a significant moral and material support to national liberation movements in the African colonies and provided large loans to Guinea and Mali, when they became independent (in 1958 and 1960). Ghana firmly adhered to the principle of positive neutrality in its foreign policy.
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In February 1964, Ghana became a one-party state. In 1965 there were the changes in the leadership of the armed forces after the military leaders expressed their dissatisfaction with the creation of the Presidential Guard. Growing balance of payments deficit and public debt, due to the sharp fall of cocoa prices in the world as well as the shortage of funds to finance the large-scale projects of industrial development at the expense of subsidized short-term loans on extremely unfavorable conditions led to severe restrictions on imports, tax increases, shortages of essential commodities and inflation.
In 1969, the second republican constitution was adopted; according to the results of the parliamentary elections, the civilian government led by Kofi Busia was formed.
The new government, like its predecessors, has been unable to solve the economic problems of the country – cope with excessive external debt and get rid of dependence on the level of world prices for cocoa beans. Deterioration in the global cocoa market, putting restrictions on imports, the state policy of austerity, galloping inflation, corruption and authoritarian methods of governance have undermined the credibility of the government of Busia in two years.
Soon, a great complex of methods was implemented in order to improve the economics. The program of economic recovery began to yield positive results at the macroeconomic level.
November 3, 1992 presidential elections were held and Jerry Rawlings won with approximately 60% of votes. Although foreign observers recognized that the election was free and fair, according to opposition parties, there were numerous abuses. The opposition boycotted the parliamentary elections held on December 29, 1992.
As for the contemporary situation in Ghana, it should be said that the president is the head of the state; he is elected for four years by direct and secret election. December 20, 2000 John Agyekum Kufuor has won the general election. Thus, the reign of Jerry Rawlings, a former Air Force lieutenant, the leader of the National Democratic Congress ended.
Chief Legislative is the unicameral parliament; it is elected by direct election for 4 years and consists of 200 deputies. Provincial Assembly is the local government headed by regional administrators and regional ministers.
Despite impressive growth, Ghanas economy is relatively undiversified with little change in its economic structure over the past two decades (Lejarraga, 2010). As for Ghanas economic perspectives, it should be said that it is an agricultural country with a developed mining (mainly gold) industry. Major industries include mining, logging, light textiles, aluminum, as well as food industry. In the late 1990s, traffic volumes of the national airline Air Ghana which is the main carrier in West Africa significantly increased, but regular flights to Europe, have opened a new line in the US and South Africa.
Compared with other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana has significant production capacity. However, in the 1990s, Ghanaian producers were unable to make their businesses profitable. Trade liberalization has led to an influx of cheap imports on the Ghanaian market, which can not compete with locally produced goods. As for major manufacturing industries, they are: food processing cocoa beans, textiles and wood. There are companies producing beverages, cement, cigarettes, chemicals, footwear, glass and soap. The largest industrial center is Tyema, with its refineries and aluminum smelters.
Agriculture is the basis of the economy of Ghana. This sphere employs more than 50% of the working population. The available evidence shows that Ghanas agriculture is characterized by low inputs, high dependence on rainfall, and production on predominantly smallholder farms (Asmah, 2011).
Ghana imports a large part of industrial consumer goods and the industrial equipment. Ghanas exports continue to be driven by cocoa and gold, which have accounted for almost 80% of total exports in recent years, primarily driven by rising world market prices (Yusof, 2010).
In conclusion, it should be stated that the main priorities of modern economic and social policy: foreign direct investment in export-oriented industries, joint ventures, job creation and retraining of workers. The countrys leadership is actively encouraging both local and foreign businessmen working in Ghana economy sector.
Ghanas international economic relations increasingly reflect the efforts of its people to overcome the legacy of colonialism. More equipment and materials are purchased for research in order to improve education, health, etc.
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