Ghana Economic and Political Life
Economic life. – The economy of the Ghana is based primarily on agricultural production, the main products of which are cocoa, palm oil, cola nut, coconut oil, copra, rubber and cotton. Before the development of cocoa cultivation, the most exported agricultural products were oil and palm nut. The cultivation area of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) borders the one used for the cultivation of cocoa, and the fact that most of the land on which the oil palm grows is not suitable, especially for climatic reasons, for the cultivation of cocoa, saved this plant from complete destruction.
According to indexdotcom, the country’s internal trade is fueled in part by oil, which is extracted by hand, and by wine, which is obtained by carving the palm tree. On the other hand, walnuts are a widely exported item. Also important is the kola nut, which grows spontaneously in Ashanti in the semi-deciduous forest, while the previous one is typical of the rainforest. The western coastal area, with much more abundant rainfall than the eastern one, appears to be the most suitable for coconut production. The development of cocoa cultivation in Ghana has something prodigious. The first isolated attempts to introduce the plant to the country were made in the second half of the last century. The increase was very rapid, so much so that the 40 tons exported in 1896 reached a maximum of over 300. 000 in 1936. In 1958 the country still occupied the first place in the field of world production with 259,500 t. Much of the production is exported especially to the USA and the UK.
In Togo, already during the German occupation, the cultivation of coffee was favored, which still thrives there near Amedzofe, constituting the most profitable product. It also spread to the borders between the Ivory Coast and Ashanti.
An important product is timber, whose export trade until recently was almost exclusively concentrated on mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) in the form of logs. After the Second World War, the greatest requests have extended the use to other species as well.
Gold has been the country’s only mineral wealth for many centuries. Today the extraction (26,525 kg in 1958) takes place according to the most modern methods and is mostly carried out in mines that reach considerable depths. The production of manganese is also important (1958: 247,700 t), surpassed only by the USSR and India, with the Nsuta mines, open cast and discovered in 1914. Today the value of this production exceeds that of diamonds. However, the mineral destined to surpass all the others in the near future is bauxite, whose deposits began to be exploited on Mount Kanaiyebo and Mount Ejuanema during the Second World War. However, the major reserves (west of Kumasi) are still intact. The export of the ore is directed to the United Kingdom (1958: 210,000 t).
The implementation of the project concerning the dam of the Upper Volta for the production of hydroelectric energy will not fail to constitute one of the most important factors for the industrial development of the country, especially with regard to the use of bauxite for the production of aluminum. The most developed industries are milling (grinding of cereals and preparation of cassava or garri flour), those of fish meal (in Christiansborg), oil extraction (in Sese), tobacco (in Takoradi), sawing, with large sawmills at the port of Takoradi and the collection centers of Kumasi, Dunkwa and Min.
However, the Ghana can be considered as a country whose greatest possibilities are those inherent in the production and preparation of raw materials for export. A further contribution to the development of the country is given by aerial communications, with the inauguration of the Accra-London line after the war. Accra is currently directly connected by air to the United States and South Africa. Air services are managed by West African Airways Corporation, WAAC, founded in 1948.
Finances. – The current currency unit was put into circulation in July 1958 for the gradual replacement of the pound, already issued by the West African Currency Board. On the same date, the ticketing functions were entrusted to the Bank of Ghana, founded in August 1957. The Ghana pound is on par with the British pound: that is, it is worth US $ 2.80 at the exchange rate.
The political life of the new state. – The Assembly that emerged from the 1956 elections is still in operation as the first legislature of the State of Ghana. The Constitution of February 27, 1957 reproduced in a single document almost all the provisions of the constitutions of 1950 and 1954, with the additions and changes made necessary by the status of sovereign state. Legislative power is made up of the President of the Republic and an Assembly of 104 members elected by universal suffrage by secret ballot, which works on the model of the British Parliament. The official language is English, but over 50 different languages or dialects are spoken.
The contrast between the two currents for and against the Constitution dominated the life of the new state. The central government has made an effort to contain and stifle the opposition. Justifying itself on the need to strengthen the ties between the various regions, it modified the 1957 Constitution through two measures that abolish the regional assemblies (1958) and authorize the National Assembly to legislate by simple majority on all matters (1959). In addition, it had two deputies and other opposition figures arrested.
In November 1958, Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Tourè, prime ministers of Ghana and Guinea (formerly French), have signed an agreement to make their two states the nucleus of a federation of independent states in West Africa. On 30 June 1960, following a referendum, the Republic of the Ghana Was proclaimed, and from that date the monarchical form of the state ceased, which had lasted since 1957 the Ghana he remained in the Commonwealth and Kwame Nkrumah added that of President of the Republic to the office of head of government. The Republic of Ghana provided troops to the UN to deal with the Congo crisis (July 1960).