Natural resources, energy and environment
Significant deposits of oil and natural gas
have been found in Ghana in recent years. The off-shore
Jubilee oil field was inaugurated at the end of 2010 and
already contributed a large part of export income the
following year. Ghana also has large assets of gold,
diamonds, manganese and bauxite.
Until 2010, gold was the largest export commodity
(now gold and oil contribute about the same share of
export income). The gold is mainly found in southwestern
Ghana. Obuasi south of the city of Kumasi is one of the
world's largest gold mines. A large number of foreign
companies are active in the Ghanaian gold industry, but
the state has a form of veto in the mining company Anglo
Gold Ashanti to safeguard the country's interests.
Major exports by Ghana with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Illegal extraction of gold is a problem. Farmers
forced out of their lands by mining companies and miners
who have become unemployed as a result of mechanization
are applying for privately owned mines with risky
working conditions. Often there are women, and many have
been killed in accidents when mines collapsed. A new law
banning foreign nationals from engaging in small-scale
mining led in 2013 to hundreds of people being forced to
leave the country, most Chinese.
Diamonds are also an important export commodity.
Illegal extraction, smuggling and corruption occur in
diamond production. However, Ghana is part of the
so-called Kimberley Process, a UN-backed initiative
aimed at stopping trade in "blood diamonds", ie diamond
trade that funds terror and war. Thus, it is free to
trade Ghanaian diamonds. Suspicions that diamonds are
being smuggled from the Ivory Coast to enter the legal
trade in Ghana mean that the UN is still keeping the
country under guard.
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Electric shortage threatens Ghana's development
The most important energy sources for households in
Ghana are firewood and charcoal. When it comes to
electricity, hydropower has long been responsible for
all domestic production. The largest power plant is
located in Akosombo, where the Volta river is decomposed
and Lake Volta was created. Another large hydropower
plant is Kpong, eight kilometers downstream from
Akosombo. The dependence on hydropower causes the
electricity supply to vary with the amount of rain. Low
water levels sometimes cause serious electricity
shortages, which damage the important mining industry
and Ghana's electricity exports to neighboring
countries. Electricity needs in the country increase by
around a tenth annually. The problems with the
electricity supply are seen as one of the biggest
threats to Ghana's economic development.
The repeated electricity crises have accelerated
investments in other energy sources. Thermal power
plants have been built and fired with oil or gas from
Nigeria. Fossil fuels accounted for almost half of
electricity production in 2014. In the same year, Ghana
began extracting its own natural gas, which will be used
to power the power plants.
Heavy industry creates environmental degradation
The exploitation of natural resources causes serious
environmental problems: the extraction of timber and
firewood goes hard for the forests (compare Agriculture
and Fisheries), the dam construction and emissions from
the gold industry destroy watercourses and lack of
purification makes clean water a scarce commodity.
Conflicts between mining companies and locals are not
uncommon and have sometimes become violent.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
337 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
357 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
14 466 thousand tons (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.5 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
41.4 percent (2015)
Ghana Telecom is sold to Vodafone
Since the state telecommunications company Ghana Telecom was sold to British
Vodafone, a political conflict erupts about the legality of the business and
whether the price was too low.
The International Monetary Fund issues a loan pledge
The country receives a $ 600 million pledge in the form of a three-year loan
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Obama visits Ghana
US President Barack Obama visits Ghana.
Severance pay is criticized
Parliament criticizes John Kufuor's severance pay in a report, which, among
other things, gives the former president two houses and six cars with drivers.
Criticism has also been directed at how expensive the 50th anniversary of
Ghana's independence in 2007 has become.
Mills presents new government
Ghana's newly-elected President Mills presents his government, in which
former governor Kwabena Duffuor becomes influential finance minister.