The Exports of Ghana

The Republic of Ghana is situated in western Africa, and it is one of the most prosperous nations on the continent. Since independence from the UK in 1957, Ghana has become a member of the African Union, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Economic Community of Western African States. Ghana'a exports have grown slowly over the last fifty years; however, the country is succeeding in its attempts to quicken the growth of international trade.

The Republic of Ghana has an enormously rich and diverse selection of natural resources; many of which have yet to be exploited. As a result, Ghana is currently one of the fastest growing nations in the world. The country is still struggling to realise its full potential, however, as international investment into Ghana has been historically slow. Fortunately, recent investment from China and several other developed nations has helped to speed the country's progress during recent years. Cocoa beans, diamond and manganese are found in abundance throughout the country; however, it is the country's massive reserves of oil which may finally finance Ghana's social and economic development.

The country is home to one of the largest discoveries of oil in recent times. One oilfield is thought to contain at least three billion barrels of oil, and several foreign oil companies are developing the area for long-term extraction projects. It is widely believed that Ghana's long-term primary export will be oil, and that the western African nation may become one of the world's leading producers. Current oil production accounts for around ten percent of the country's total exports; however, this is a figure that will undoubtedly continue to rise over the next decade. Further exploration and development is expected to reveal national oil reserves of over five billion barrels.

Ghana's single largest export sector is that of mineral deposits. The mining industry in the country accounts for around five percent of the nation's total wealth. However, it accounts for around forty percent of the country's total international exports. Ghana is always one of the world's top five producers of gold, making the mining of gold crucial to Ghana's current economic health. The country also has significant deposits of diamonds and bauxite; there are over twenty large mining corporations currently employing hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians. The country is also home to over three hundred small-scale mining organisations and countless speculators.

Despite Ghana's huge oil reserves and large gold deposits, it is the country's cocoa industry that has been the principle export for over a century. The commodity was first grown by British landowners in the mid-nineteenth century, and Ghana was the world's largest supplier of the cocoa bean for the majority of the twentieth century. The production and processing of cocoa currently employs and incredible 1.5 million people in Ghana, and many more companies and jobs rely on cocoa exports. The real significance of the cocoa bean to the country's economy was recognised during the 1930s when the colonial government took full control of the industry. In order to protect the incomes of local farmers, research and quality control was governed by state legislation.

Ghana's complete reliance on cocoa made the country extremely vulnerable to market volatility. The price of cocoa fell by two thirds in the 1970s, and many local producers stopped farming it altogether. A number of droughts and continued pressure on the market price spread well into the 1980s. Ghana received emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund in order to save the country's economy from complete collapse. The country's governments have attempted to balance its export portfolio ever since. Hopefully, Ghana's growing services sector and burgeoning oil industry will make that possible.

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