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Useful Notes / Ghana

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Formerly known as Gold Coast, Ghana used to be a British colony until 1957. It was the first sub-Saharian country to become independent.

Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was an early promoter of Pan-Africanism. While it wouldn’t catch on in his lifetime, eventually his vision became true with the foundation of the African Union.

Ghana has suffered from the requisite Cold War-era military dictatorships, but during Jerry Rawlings' second period in office (1981-2000) it lurched steadily towards democracy, and Rawlings even won elections in 1992 and 1996 that the international community judged largely free and fair, even if the domestic opposition disagreed. It's since transitioned to being a stable democracy.

Though it’s a mildly poor country, Ghana has been growing steadfastly in the later years, especially the tourism branch, which attracts all kinds of rich Americans, Europeans and others. It also has a bit of a computer industry developing, thanks to a bunch of charities sending computers to the country. Usually they were sent there to be disposed of, but a few Ghanians have actually have salvaged usable parts from them and apparently reverse-engineered a few.


The religion is mainly Christian, with a Islamic minority concentrated on the north. There are also the traditional religions of the zone.

The main sport is football. In fact, in the 2010 World Cup they made it to quarter finals, before losing to a hand.

The most famous Ghanaian must be Kofi Annan, known because of his former job as Secretary-General to the UN and because his name sounds pretty similar to “coffee”.

By the way, the name “Ghana” comes from the ancient Empire of Ghana, one of the first West African empires. However, the empire’s frontiers never reached Ghana’s actual frontiers.

The Ghanaian flag

The flag uses the Pan-African colors, but with its own interpretation. The red, yellow and green stripes symbolize the blood of fallen Ghanaian freedom fighters, mineral wealth, and the forests, respectively; the black star symbolizes African freedom, and was likely derived from the logo of Black Star Line, a shipping company led by Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey which helps bring freed slaves back to their racial homeland.

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