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 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and worldwide evacuation of Volunteers, hosted more than 100 volunteers. The United States and Ghana share a long history of 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.
U.S. goals in Ghana are to spur economic growth through increased trade and investment, invest in people, promote peace and regional security, and improve accountable governance and strengthen institutions. The U.S. government is the largest bilateral development partner in Ghana.
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 Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative, 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. The Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) goal is to: 1) help build more accountable governance institutions within Ghana that respect human rights, and advance stability, peace, and security; 2) build institutional capacity in the criminal justice sector to curb transnational organized crime including financial crimes, drug trafficking, and human trafficking incidents; 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 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 enjoys a dynamic people-to-people relationship with Ghana. Ghana participates in more than 25 U.S. funded exchange programs including the flagship Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) and hosts one of four Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Centers that train young leaders in leadership, entrepreneurship, and professional development. Tens of thousands of Ghanaians have been educated in the United States. Numerous partnerships exist between U.S. higher education 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 intends to restart its large program in Ghana, with volunteers working in education, agriculture, and health (including HIV/AIDS, malaria, sanitation, and nutrition).
Bilateral Economic Relations
With a gross domestic product growth rate of 6.5 percent in 2019, Ghana was among the fastest-growing economies in the world. The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to Ghana’s economy, however, pushing its 2020 GDP growth down to just 1.1 percent, with services, trade, and the oil and gas industries all taking a hit. Ghana’s response to the coronavirus exacerbated its already strained fiscal and debt outlook, resulting in a significant rise in its debt-to-GDP ratio from 62.4 percent of GDP to over 76.1 percent of GDP by the end of 2020. Although Ghana heavily depends on the export of primary commodities – gold, cocoa, and oil make up 24 percent of GDP and 83 percent of exports – Ghana is looking to rebound in 2021 with a forecast of five percent GDP growth.
Ghana is taking an increasingly important continent-wide leadership role on bolstering intra-Africa trade after becoming the host of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in August 2020 and completing its first shipments under the agreement in January 2021. Once fully implemented, AfCFTA will present tremendous opportunities for U.S. companies operating on the African continent with harmonized rules of origin, reduced technical barriers to trade, and a new trade dispute settlement mechanism.
Our bilateral economic relationship is focused on bolstering two-way trade and investment while promoting enterprise-driven development, particularly through the increased participation of women and youth, and better development outcomes for Ghana’s most vulnerable citizens. The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) continues to implement its $308 million Ghana Power Compact to transform Ghana’s power sector through key infrastructure investments, that will provide more reliable electricity to Ghana’s businesses and households. The United States remains Ghana’s largest bilateral development partner, with U.S. economic assistance focused on enhancing the competitiveness of local firms. As a focus country of the U.S. Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. Government in Ghana is strengthening market systems in Ghana’s agricultural sector.
U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, are supporting new and stronger commercial partnerships between U.S. exporters and Ghanaian consumers. Bilateral trade between Ghana and the United States totaled $1.5 billion in 2020, down from $1.8 billion in 2019 due primarily to a drop in Ghana’s oil exports. As a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Ghana has duty-free access to the U.S. market for over 1,800 products, in addition to the more than 5,000 products that are eligible for duty-free access under the Generalized System of Preferences program. Roughly 100 U.S. companies maintain operations in Ghana, including Coca Cola, Twitter, Cargill, Newmont, IBM, Cummins, ExxonMobil, PwC, and many other household names. Ghana’s relative political stability and security, and its well-educated, English-speaking workforce makes it an attractive hub for doing business in West Africa
Ghana’s Membership in International Organizations
In June 2021, Ghana was elected to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2022-2023. 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.
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: