U.S. Relations With Ghana

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
June 8, 2018

More information about Ghana is available on the Ghana Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Ghana in 1957, following Ghana's independence from the United Kingdom. In 1961, Ghana hosted the first cohort of Peace Corps Volunteers to serve overseas and currently hosts 150 volunteers. The United States and Ghana share a long history promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Ghana has set an example for countries throughout Africa in promoting resilient democratic institutions, transparent and peaceful transitions of power, and regional stability.

The United States and Ghana work together on various defense and law enforcement issues. Both countries’ militaries cooperate in numerous joint training exercises through U.S. Africa Command. The United States and Ghana have a bilateral International Military Education and Training program, a Foreign Military Financing program, and numerous humanitarian affairs projects, including a relationship between the Government of Ghana and the North Dakota National Guard under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense State Partnership Program. Ghana continues to participate in the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program, in which the United States facilitates the development of an interoperable peacekeeping capacity among African nations. Ghana is a partner country for the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership and the Security Governance Initiative. These programs seek to address security sector governance challenges in Ghana and enhance Ghana’s ability to rapidly deploy peacekeepers. Ghana is also a priority country for efforts to address transnational organized crime in West Africa. The Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) aims to help the government of Ghana to: 1) build capacity for complex criminal investigations and case packages on transnational organized crimes including financial crimes, drug trafficking, and human trafficking incidents; 2) conduct fair trials of transnational criminals and drug traffickers; and 3) combat rising drug abuse. In furtherance of these objectives, INL has supported institutional development across the criminal justice sector.

Through the U.S. International Visitor Leadership Program, Ghanaian parliamentarians and other government officials have become acquainted with U.S. congressional and state legislative practices and have participated in programs designed to address other issues of interest. Youth exchanges and study abroad programs are also robust and growing between U.S. and Ghanaian universities and NGOs. At the U.S. state level, the State Partnership Program aims to promote greater economic ties between Ghana and U.S. institutions, including the National Guard.

The United States has enjoyed good relations with Ghana at a nonofficial, people-to-people level since Ghana's independence. Ghana is host to 40 Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF) and hosts one of four YALI Regional Leadership Centers that train young leaders in leadership, entrepreneurship and professional development. Thousands of Ghanaians have been educated in the United States. Close relations are maintained between educational and scientific institutions, and cultural links are strong, particularly between Ghanaians and African-Americans.

U.S. Assistance to Ghana

U.S. development assistance to Ghana is implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and others. USAID-managed development assistance to Ghana has supported the country in improving the power sector, increasing food security, enhancing basic health care, increasing access to quality basic education, and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaians. The West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, located in Accra, provides technical assistance to help small businesspersons to grow their businesses and access new customers in the United States and the West African region. The Peace Corps has a large program in Ghana, with volunteers working in education, agriculture, and health (including HIV/AIDS, malaria, sanitation, and nutrition).

Bilateral Economic Relations

One of the fastest growing economies in the world a few years ago, Ghana’s rate of growth slowed to 3.7% in 2016, but rebounded to 8.5% in 2017, mainly due to increased oil production. Ghana’s economy is highly dependent on the export of primary commodities such as gold, cocoa, and oil. Thus, the country remains vulnerable to potential slowdowns in the global economy and commodity price shocks. Overall, increased inflation and devaluation of the Ghanaian cedi since late 2013 has dampened the macroeconomic success story. While the cedi has largely stabilized recently, in March 2016 inflation peaked at 19.2% reaching its highest point since 2010. Since then, the inflation rate has declined considerably, reaching 9.6% in April 2018. Ghana’s total public debt rose to 73% of GDP in 2016, exceeding pre-HIPC levels, decreasing marginally to 69.8% in 2017. A new government was elected in December 2016 on a platform of promoting private sector-led growth, and has made attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) a priority, given the urgent need to restore the country's economic momentum and overcome an annual infrastructure funding gap of at least $1.5 billion.

In 2015, the Government of Ghana signed a $918 million extended credit facility (ECF) agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an effort to stabilize Ghana’s struggling economy. Ghana has successfully completed six IMF reviews since the program started, but excessive end-of-year government expenditures in 2016 raised questions about Ghana’s commitment to fiscal consolidation. At the end of August 2017, the nation faced the challenge of addressing its massive state-owned enterprise debt, mostly in the power sector, estimated to be around $3 billion. Discussions with the IMF, the World Bank, and the broader international donor community to address the sustainability of the sector are ongoing. In May of 2018, the IMF announced that Ghana’s program performance improved in 2017 and that the country’s macroeconomic conditions have strengthened considerably. The last review under the IMF program ends in February 2019. Ghana completed a five-year $547 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact in 2012 and a second, five-year $498 million MCC compact focused on the power sector entered into force on September 6, 2016.

Ghana exports goods to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and is a Feed the Future, Power Africa, Trade Africa, and Partnership for Growth country. The United States is among Ghana's principal trading partners, with bilateral trade between the two countries reaching $1.7 billion in 2017. A number of major U.S. companies operate in the country, including IBM, Coca-Cola, and Newmont Mining. Political stability, competitive wages, and an educated, English-speaking workforce enhance Ghana's potential as a West African hub for American businesses. However a burdensome bureaucracy, weak productivity, costly and difficult financial services, under-developed infrastructure, ambiguous property laws, an unreliable power and water supply, and an unskilled labor force present challenges hindering foreign direct investment. Ghana has significant reserves of oil and gas, currently being developed by a variety of global petroleum companies, including U.S.-based Kosmos Energy and Anadarko. In January 2018, Exxon Mobil signed a petroleum agreement with the Government of Ghana to conduct offshore oil exploration in the Deepwater Cape Three Points block.

Ghana's Membership in International Organizations

In foreign affairs, Ghana generally follows the consensus of the Nonaligned Movement and the African Union on economic and political issues that do not directly affect its own interests. Ghana and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Ghana also is an observer to the Organization of American States. Ghana has a strong track record of contributing troops to international peacekeeping forces. In 2017, Ghana completed a two-year term on the UN Human Rights Council and has aspirations to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Ghana maintains an embassy in the United States at 3512 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-686-4500).

More information about Ghana is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Ghana Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Ghana Page
U.S. Embassy
USAID Ghana Page
History of U.S. Relations With Ghana
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Millennium Challenge Corporation: Ghana
Travel Information