Ghana strengthens its international trade ties


According to Article 40 of its 1992 constitution, Ghana’s foreign policy is underpinned by a commitment not only to protecting the country’s interests, but also to establishing a just and equitable economic, political and social order more widely. This includes promoting the settlement of international disputes through peaceful norms and adhering to the principles enshrined in the aims and ideals of the UN, the African Union, ECOWAS, the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. Ghana has thus pursued a variety of bilateral and multilateral links with countries around the world.

European Links

The 28 states of the EU collectively represent the leading destination for Ghanaian exports and the second-largest source of the country’s imports. Exports comprise mostly raw materials, while imports from the EU include machinery, farm equipment and mineral fuels.

Ghana is also one of 79 signatories of the Cotonou Agreement, the most comprehensive partnership agreement between the EU and developing countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, designed to consolidate development as well as political and economic cooperation.

Subject to revision every five years, the agreement covers the period from 2000 to 2020. The most recent revision in 2010 adapted the partnership to focus more on issues such as climate change, food security, HIV/AIDS, the sustainability of fisheries, strengthening security in fragile regions and meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Across The Atlantic

The US and Ghana have consistently enjoyed strong bilateral relations, and the newly independent West African country was the first in the world to receive participants from the inaugural Peace Corps volunteer class in the 1960s. The 20 agreements and treaties to which the two parties are signatories cover issues such as agricultural commodities, aviation, economic and technical cooperation, education, extradition, postal matters and telecommunications. The two also conduct a number of joint training exercises through US Africa Command, including the bilateral International Military Education and Training programme and the Foreign Military Financing programme.

According to a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, 69% of Ghanaians viewed US influence as mainly positive, the highest among African countries. The US is Ghana’s second-largest source of imports and 10th-largest export destination. Several large American companies, both in services and extractive industries, operate in Ghana.

Looking East

Relations with China have developed steadily in recent years, like many of Ghana’s peers on the continent. Ghana imports more from China than from any other country, including goods such as clothing, textiles, electronics and mechanical equipment. As is commonly the case, Chinese imports have put downward pressure on some local producers in sectors like textiles, but have also helped lower the cost of goods for local consumers.

The country has also benefitted from significant Chinese investment and financing. China built Ghana’s national theatre as a thank-you gift for diplomatic support during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. In November 2011 China opened the fourth office of its China-Africa Development Fund in Accra. Most recently, in the summer of 2017 Ghana signed $19bn worth of deals with China for infrastructure and mining projects focused on Ghana’s bauxite reserves (see Transport and Mining chapters).


Ghana has maintained close diplomatic, cultural, political and economic ties with its former colonial power. Membership in the Commonwealth, investment links and a large diaspora in the UK contribute to these close relations. In July 2017 the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce hosted a trade and investment forum in London to strengthen business ties.

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The Report: Ghana 2018

The Report

This article is from the Country Profile chapter of The Report: Ghana 2018. Explore other chapters from this report.

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