Surprise ingredient of Ghana’s growing economy

(CNN) – From leading the fight against colonial rule in Africa to triumphing in major sporting events, Ghanaians have a lot to feel proud of their country. This is after all one of Africa’s major economic powerhouses and a country with a rich history that is consistently held up as a successful example of democracy in the continent.

Despite its relatively small size and population, Ghana boasts today one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, driven mainly by its substantial natural riches and strong agricultural production.

Previously known as the Gold Coast (because of the vast quantities of the precious metal found there), Ghana gained its independence from Great Britain in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan nation to break the chains of colonialism.

Since then, it has navigated stormy periods of army rule and political uncertainty to emerge in recent decades as a vibrant democracy that has enjoyed several peaceful transitions of power.

Over the last six years, Ghana’s economy has grown each year by an average of 6%, hitting a record-breaking 15% in 2011. Growth declined in the following years, but in 2015 economists expect the country to post strong growth of around 8%.

Unsurprisingly, the west African country has traditionally relied heavily on exporting precious metals and minerals, including aluminum, diamonds and, of course, gold — Ghana is the continent’s biggest gold producer, following South Africa.

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