Learn more about specific causes in Ghana that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentGhana is highly vulnerable to adverse effects of droughts since the country relies heavily on agriculture for jobs and exports. The widespread poverty in Ghana also makes it difficult for the population to adapt to extreme weather.1 A study done by the Center for Environmental Research and Policy Analysis in Ghana stated that 41% of citizens are directly affected by polluted rivers, and a further 70% are affected by poor sanitation structures.2
FamilyAmnesty International found legal provisions that discriminate against women in property rights and inheritance rights. There was delay in the passing of the Property Rights of Spouses Bill that was proposed in 2013. This bill was created to make more protections for women and other victims of domestic violence.1 The government has struggled in collecting data about domestic abuse due to the social stigma against reporting against one’s spouse.2
Human RightsDespite its stable presidency, Ghana has committed many human rights violations in recent years. In February 2016, the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill was presented to Parliament. Critics pointed to the vague definitions present in the wording of the document as a source of potential unfair screening of mail that would violate previous privacy laws. Another source of human rights abuse in the country is discrimination in healthcare to those with disabilities. Same-sex relationships remain a criminal offense.1
EducationIn 2003, Ghana eliminated all tuition fees for primary schools in an effort to increase enrollment and defray individual family costs. However, families must still pay the costs of uniforms and textbooks, which continue to discourage school enrollment. In 2017, the state passed legislation making high school education free for everyone as well. The country has had free compulsory education at the primary level since 1995, but only achieved internationally acceptable enrollment rates in 2014.1 About 6.2% of Ghana’s GDP is spent on education. Additionally, the total adult literacy rate in Ghana is low at 76%, and the literacy rate of women in Ghana is 11% behind the literacy rate of the male population.2
PovertyThere is a vast discrepancy between the incomes of those living in cities and rural populations. The poorest third of the country makes up only 1.7% of national consumption. Economic growth has been steady in the decade leading up to 2017, but income inequality has increased simultaneously.1 An investigation by the New York Times revealed that increasing availability of cheap food via fast food chains has led to skyrocketing obesity rates and a national reliance on non-nutritious food.2 The unemployment rate is 12%.3
ReligionAbout 71% of Ghana’s population identifies as Christian, 17% identify as Muslim, and 5% follow traditional indigenous belief systems.1 Christianity is most common in the northern region of Ghana, and Islam is most common in the southern region.2 Although Ghana has experienced some religious tension in the past between Christian and Muslim groups, the country is generally tolerant of all religions, and religious groups exist peaceably.3 Ghana’s constitution and other laws allow for freedom of religion in the country.4
Clean WaterAround 11% of Ghana’s population does not have access to drinkable water and only 15% of the population has access to improved sanitation infrastructure.1 Diarrheal disease is the third highest reported illness in the country’s rural health clinics and 25% of children die from waterborne illnesses before the age of 5.2 Rural communities often lack the resources and training necessary to maintain local water sources, which results in 49% of the rural water sources malfunctioning.3
EconomyGhana’s economy has become more stable in recent years due to their democratic government. There have also been efforts made towards economic transparency, which has allowed Ghana to qualify for debt assistance from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.1 However, government corruption still remains a significant barrier to economic productivity. The most important sector for Ghana is agriculture, which employs around 45% of the total population. The service industry is responsible for about 40% of jobs. Ghana is the world’s second largest producer of cocoa beans in the world and their export earns the country almost 1 billion USD annually.2 In 2017 public debt reached 78% of the GDP, and continues to increase. The unemployment rate in Ghana is currently at 12%. Ghana Read More exports mainly to Switzerland, India, and the UAE, but imports from China, the UK, and the US predominantly.3 Show Less
GovernmentThe Republic of Ghana is a multi-party, presidential constitutional republic whose government is relatively stable compared to those of neighboring countries.1 Ghana’s government has indeed achieved significant progress towards effectiveness and transparency and has started to curb corruption in recent years. However, many citizens continue to report instances of government corruption. State officials routinely dip into state assets and petty corruption is pervasive between political parties. The government has implemented strong anti-corruption measures and laws, but the problem continues due to weak enforcement measures.2 The public score their government 43 out of 100 for the government's high levels of corruption, and Transparency International ranks them 70th out of 176 countries.3
HealthThe most pervasive health problems in Ghana are communicable diseases, poor sanitation, and poor nutrition. Rural populations are still in need of better access to health clinics and improved sanitation infrastructures. Breast cancer is the highest leading malignancy in Ghana, and the number of recorded cases has been steadily increasing annually.1 Drug addiction and trafficking have also become pervasive problems for Ghanaians and there are few available resources and little national support for managing the drug issue.2 11% of the adult population is obese, and 11% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished. The country’s infant mortality rate is still very high at 35 deaths per 1,000 live births, and the maternal mortality rate is 319 deaths per 100,000 live births. The average Read More life expectancy is only 67 years.3 Show Less
ChildrenIn the past decade, Ghana has made great strides towards protecting the rights of children. Since 1992, a formal child protective system has been in place. Ghana has also ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and signed the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.1 Gender equality is far from being realized in Ghana, and young girls do not have the same access to education as young boys.2 Child trafficking is a major concern for children in Ghana; the government has reported progress in their legislative efforts to outlaw the practice, but enforcement of new laws has been lax.3
AnimalsThe Afrotropical region that includes Ghana is home to hundreds of endemic species, especially birds. The mangroves along the coast are home to the talapoin monkey, and the waters off the shore have leatherback, loggerhead, olive ridley, hawksbill, and green turtles. The Anlo-Keta Lagoon Complex and Songor Lagoons, located in Ghana, are recognized for their high biodiversity. Urbanization, industrialization, agriculture, and resource exploitation, are severe threats to the mangrove habitats.1
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