“Every wise person knows where they are going, but only the fool does not know where they are coming from.”

This is the exhortation and admonition of the Sankofa Bird, which has its body looking forward and its head looking back, and is a legendary creature from Akan (a Ghanaian tribe) mythology that symbolizes the need to both learn from one’s past experiences and to avoid its mistakes. 

In the lead up and during my time in Ghana, I will study as much Ghanaian history and culture as possible so that I might learn from the past.

Here’s a quick comparison of some facts and figures between Ghana and Canada:

Gained Independence 1957 (from England) 1867 (self governing dominion)
Population 24,339,838 (47th in the world) 33,759,742 (36th in world)
Median Age 21.1 years 40.7 years
Life Expect. 60.55 years 81.3 years
Fertility Rate 3.57 children born/woman 1.58 children born/woman
Size 238,533 sq km 
Slightly smaller than Oregon
9,093,507 sq km
(very big!)
Exports gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticulture motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecom equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum
Highest Point Mount Afadjato 880 m Mount Logan 5,959 m
Land Use arable land: 17.54%permanent crops: 9.22%irrigated: 310 sq km other: 73.24% (2005) arable land: 4.57%permanent crops: 0.65%irrigated: 7,850 sq km other: 94.78% (2005)
Gross $36.57 billion (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

$1.285 trillion (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

GDP/person $1,500 (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 199 $38,400 (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 27
Labour Force by Sector agriculture: 56%
industry: 15%
services: 29%
agriculture: 2%
manufacturing: 13%construction: 6%
services: 76%
other: 3%
Budget Revenue: $4.5B
Expenditures: $6.0B
Revenue: $521.6B
Expenditures: $578.7B

One Response to “Ghana”

  1. Shandor Nikoras August 26, 2010 at 1:34 am #

    Hey Mark, Anita and I are hoping you are having a great time in Africa. You are doing a great thing there and it can only make you a better person, if that is even possible.

    I think that bird would make a great tattoo if you were to ever get one.

    Shandor & Anita

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