Ghana

Once famous for its gold trade, Ghana was more recently the world’s largest cocoa exporter, before being ousted from this position by its neighbour, Côte d’Ivoire.

Compared with other countries in West Africa, this relatively small country has a highly developed industrial sector. However, the decline in its GDP – from 13 %  in 2011 to less than 5 % in 2013 – highlights the challenge that the country currently faces, which includes an energy crisis, currency depreciation, inflation and other problems.

To ensure its economic recovery, Ghana is directing its efforts towards developing its exports and reducing its imports. Moreover, following the discovery of large offshore oil reserves in 2007, the country will soon be entering the market for another kind of gold – black gold.

  • Palm oil

Ghana was the first country, followed by Malaysia, where the British established oil palm plantations in the nineteenth century. Although technically similar, African and Asian palm plantations subsequently developed in different ways. Today, palm oil is universally popular in Ghana. It tends to be consumed in refined form in the cities and in unrefined form in the countryside.

Government intervention in this sector during the last decade, with the support of the World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD), has aimed to increase the country’s output to enable it to meet its own needs. At present, Ghana is only the fifteenth largest producer in the world and the fifth largest producer in Africa, after Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Since 2009, Ghanaian actors in the oil palm sector have been working together to adapt the 8 Principles and 39 Criteria of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

  • Rubber

In Ghana, rubber cultivation was introduced in the late 1950s with the plantation created by GREL. This company was nationalised in 1960, before returning to the private sector in 1996.
In the East, a small rubber plantation established in 1971 is still under development.
With financial support from the Ghanaian government and the AFD, smallholdings are currently growing strongly.

An important driver of development in remote areas, rubber cultivation also enables pure green energy to be produced: natural rubber can replace synthetic rubber (a petroleum distillation product) and represents a significant carbon sink.


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