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Area: 238,533 sq km
Population: 23.8 million
Languages: English, Akan, Ewe
Religions: Christian, Muslim, Indigenous beliefs
GNI per capita: US$670
Currency: Cedi
Ghana was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa where Europeans arrived to trade - first in gold, later in slaves. It was also the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence in 1957. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power in 1981. In April 1992 a constitution allowing for a multi-party system was approved in a referendum, ushering in a period of democracy. 
Although Ghana has largely escaped the civil strife that has plagued other West African countries, in 1994-95 land disputes in the north erupted into ethnic violence, resulting in the deaths of 1,000 people and the displacement of a further 150,000. Nowadays, a well-administered country by regional standards, Ghana is often seen as a model for political and economic reform in Africa.
Its territory stretches 341 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. The rainy season lasts from May to July, with a minor wet season in September and October.
Ghana is rich in natural resources and ranks among the world’s leading producers of cacao. It is the world's second-largest producer. Other industries include forestry, mining, and fishing. Hyenas, antelopes, and chimpanzees are among the types of wildlife found in Ghana. Parks provide protection for animals with dwindling populations.
About 70 percent of Ghanaians work in agriculture. Many farmers produce only enough crops to feed their own family. They do not have adequate income to purchase clothes or schoolbooks.