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Ghana (official name, Republic of Ghana) is a Democratic Republic of about 25.5 million inhabitants which borders to the west with the Ivory Coast, to the north with Burkina Faso, to the east with Togo and to the south with the Gulf of Guinea.

Among the major cities, in addition to the capital Accra (made up of over 6 million inhabitants), Kumasi (made up of about 1.5 million inhabitants), located in the southern area, where 50% of the processing industry is located of the wood of the whole country; Sekondi-Takoradi (made up of about 450,000 inhabitants), located in the south-west of the country, which also has a highly developed industrial sector in terms of wood and plywood processing; finally Tamale (made up of about 360,000 inhabitants) which is the largest administrative and commercial center in northern Ghana.

The population is predominantly Christian (69%), there is a Muslim minority (15.9%) while part of the population follows traditional cults (8.5%).

The official language of the country is English.

Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to free itself from colonial rule. The British had made it a colony in 1874. The English colonial rule was, in several respects, opposed and characterized, on the one hand, by the resistance of the indigenous Ashanti kingdom and, on the other hand, by a decentralized administration divided into the various districts in which the territory of Ghana was divided, then called the “Gold Coast“.

With its own government since 1954, the Gold Coast achieved independence in 1957 under the name of Ghana (ghana means “warrior king”). In particular, independence from the British was achieved on March 6, 1957 under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah of the Convention People’s Party (CPP); his government fell in a coup in 1966, following a totalitarian drift.

Today Ghana is a presidential constitutional republic.

The Constitution of 1992 (Constitution of the Republic of Ghana n.282 / 1992) dates back to the end of the era of military rule that succeeded Nkrumah and, in particular, the presidency of Jerry Rawlings, as Head of the Provisional Council of National Defense .

Since 2000, democratic elections have resulted in a peaceful alternation in power between the parties of the liberal New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Ghana also enjoys a strategic location in West Africa, with easy access to one of the continent’s largest markets. Its geographical position, as well as its political stability, make it a natural crossroads for trade and investment. Ghana, like many other African nations, has invested in infrastructure, roads and construction in recent decades, preparing to seize new and important opportunities.

The Italians have been present since the beginning, when only a few entrepreneurs had shown that they were ready to take risks in this country. Today, after so many years at the forefront, it is impressive to think about what Italians have done and are doing: hospitals, schools, roads, dams and much more, are a true demonstration of commitment and professionalism. Italian excellence in construction is evidenced by important projects such as the Akosombo dam which formed Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world. It is with this spirit that Italian companies in Ghana today play a key role in the local economy.

Relationship between Italy and Ghana

As regards bilateral relations with Italy, among the main initiatives in support of development, we note:

  • the agreement between Italy and Ghana for the cancellation of the bilateral debt for a value of approximately € 34 million;
  • the entry into force on 5 July 2006 of the Italy / Ghana Convention to avoid double taxation on income taxes and to prevent tax evasion (signed on 19 February 2004);
  • the support program for the private sector, called Ghana Private Sector Development Facility (GPSDF) 5 of 2003, through which the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs supplies a credit line for a total amount of 11 million €uro;

In addition to the creation of a credit line in favor of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana (favoring companies that are characterized by local and female employment, operations in the agrofood, industrial, tourism and environment; the connection with Ghanaian citizens residing in Italy or with Italian investors who participate in the capital of a Ghanaian company), the provision of technical assistance to them with a view to improving the trend towards internationalization and capacity building activities.

Moreover, it should be noted that the Italian non-governmental organizations “Ricerca e Cooperazione” and “Cospe” are active in the country, whose projects are aimed at increasing.

Italy and Ghana maintain excellent bilateral relations, consolidated by political missions at the highest levels that have characterized the last few months.

On 17 July 2015, the President of Ghana Mahama participated in the national day at Expo Milano, an event in which Ghana was present in the “Cocoa and Chocolate” Cluster, and took part in a business forum. The visit was followed by a mission to Accra, in December 2015, by the then Deputy Minister (current Minister) of Economic Development Calenda and the Undersecretary (current Deputy Minister) for Foreign Affairs Giro. Finally, in the first days of February 2016, Prime Minister Renzi carried out the first mission to Ghana of an Italian premier.

In Ghana there is a dynamic Italian business community, partly established a few decades ago, operating in the construction, production and marketing of cocoa and timber sectors. Recent investments range from the hydrocarbon sector (Eni), to the cultivation of plants and shrubs for the production of bioenergy, to production plants in the aluminum sector, to catering and transport. Fertile ground for the intensification of relations in the economic and commercial field was offered by the private sector support program “Ghana Private Sector Development Fund” (GPSDF), financed by the Italian Cooperation, which granted subsidized lines of credit to Ghanaian SMEs.

In 2015, Italian exports to Ghana reached 204.5 million euros, with an annual increase of 28.7%. Machines, appliances and mechanical devices made up 22.6% of our exports to Ghana, followed by electrical appliances and materials (9%), mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation (8.2%) and from cars (6%).

In 2015, Italian imports from Ghana touched 344.6 million euros, with a contraction on an annual basis of 35.9%. The main item of Italian imports from Ghana was represented by mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation (70%), followed by cocoa and its preparations (15.7%).