The Republic of Ghana spans the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea, sitting in the West African subregion along with the Ivory Coast, Togo, and Burkina Faso. The country was formerly known as Gold Coast and possesses precious metals, minerals, hydrocarbons, and other natural reserves.
Ghana has a middle-income economy that relies primarily on agriculture along with the service industry. The agricultural sector contributes about one-third of the country’s GDP and provides jobs to over 50% of its workforce. Meanwhile, the services industry adds up to 40% of its GDP. The country is among the leading producers of cocoa in the world. Cocoa products, as well as gold, are major commodities for export.
In 2002, the country took the debt relief option, a program for the Heavily Indebted Poor Country. In 2006, the nation signed a Millenium Challenge Corporation Agreement which is geared toward the transformation of its agricultural sector. It also received assistance from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. In 2009, Ghana also signed a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility contract with the International Monetary Fund to boost its macroeconomic stability, improve the competitiveness of its private enterprises, enhance its manpower, and improve governance and civic responsibility.
Between 2008 and 2010, the nation’s GDP has grown as a result of the harmonious management of its macro economy as well as the rise of gold and cocoa prices. In December 2010, the Jubilee Oil Field started oil production which is forecasted to advance the country’s economy with estimated oil reserves soaring to about 700 million barrels.
Prior to Ghana’s independence from the United Kingdom, its official currency until July 1958 was the British West African pound. The Bank of Ghana was established on March 4, 1957, two days before the country declared independence. In 1958, the bank started issuing banknotes that replaced the notes issued by the West African Currency Board. These notes depict the Bank of Ghana building on their front design.
The Ghanian cedi was introduced following Ghana’s decision to leave the British colonial financial system in 1965. The new legal tender is subdivided into a “pesewa” sub-unit. The 1965 cedi banknotes featured Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. In February 1967, the currency was revalued after Kwane Nkrumah was overthrown. Hence, Nkrumah’s portrait was removed from the banknotes issued between 1967 and 1971.
In 1979, another family of notes was released by the Bank of Ghana, bearing completely new designs. Another banknote series that comes in smaller sizes was introduced in 1996. In 2007, the bank released cedi banknotes featuring Ghana’s “Big Six” - Kwame Nkrumah, Edward Akufo-Addo, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Ebenezer Ako Adjei, William Ofori Atta, and Emmanuel Odarkwei Obetsebi-Lamptey.
In 2019, a new family of banknotes was put into circulation. These notes are equipped with enhanced security features such as golden iridescent gold bar stripes, RAPID windowed security thread, and a watermark that reflects Tetteh Quarshie, a cocoa pod, and electrotype value.