GHANA - ISRAEL
Ghana and the State of Israel enjoy good diplomatic relations. Ghana was the first African country to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel, in 1958. Before then Israel had, with the permission of the then colonial power, Britain, already established a Consulate in Accra (in November 1956) prior to Ghana’s attainment of independence in 1957. The two countries maintained resident Ambassadors and for close to 15 years (1958-1973) Ghana and Israel enjoyed very warm and cordial relations. Some of the major areas of cooperation between the two countries during the period included shipping; construction; agriculture; labor issues; manpower training; science and medicine; security matters and culture.
Ghana, however, broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1973 in compliance with an OAU (now African Union) resolution that requested all member states to sever diplomatic relations with Israel following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war in which Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula which is an integral part of Egypt.
Despite the break in diplomatic relations with Israel the latter was permitted to maintain an interest section at the Swiss Embassy in Accra until 1990 when the office was closed down for financial reasons and also as a result of Israel’s frustration over Ghana’s continued refusal to restore relations with her.
The signing of Israel-PLO Peace Accords in Washington D.C on 13th September 1993 paved the way for Ghana to review her relations and to re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
On 9th August 1994, Ghana and Israel signed a joint communiqué and announced simultaneously in Tel Aviv and Accra the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with effect from that date. It was also agreed during the visit of an Israeli delegation to Ghana in October-November 1994 that the two countries would re-open diplomatic Missions in each other’s capital.
Ghana accordingly re-opened its Mission in Tel Aviv in 1996 and Israel reopened its Embassy in Accra in September 2011. The following individuals served as Head of Missions of the Ghana Embassy in Tel Aviv during the years indicated against their names:
H.E. Lt. Col. (Rtd) Lawrence Kudjoku
H.E. Nana Owusu Nsiah
H.E. Henry Hanson Hall
H.E. Ernest S. Lomotey
H.E Hannah Ama Nyarko
2002 - 2005
2006 - 2009
2009 - 2012
2013 - 2017
2018 - Date
Ghana's bilateral cooperation with Israel has improved tremendously since the reopening of the Mission in 1996. The construction of an ultra-modern new University of Ghana Hospital modeled along the lines of Sheba Medical Center and an undertaken by EDC, an Israeli Company and the training of medical professionals at the Sheba Medical Center, are a few examples of the level of cooperation ongoing between the two countries. The rise of terrorism globally has also brought into sharp focus the need to strengthen security cooperation with the rest of the world. This was one of the key issues discussed by Ghana's Foreign Minister, Hon. Hanna Tetteh and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu when the former paid an official visit to Israel from 13-16th March 2016
GHANA AT A GLANCE:
Ghana is located on the west coast of Africa, about 750 km north of the equator between the latitudes of 4 and 11.5o north and longitude 3.11° West and 1.11° East. It is bounded on the north by Burkina Faso, on the west by La Cote D'lvoire, on the east by Togo and on the south by the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean). Tema, the industrial city, which is adjunct to Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is on the Greenwich Meridian (zero line of longitude), making Ghana the closest landmark to the center of the world.
Ghana has a total land area of 238,537 km2 (92,100 sq. miles) stretching 672 km north to south and 357 km east to west. Its physical size makes it about the same size as Great Britain. Out of a total land area of 23 million hectares, 13 million hectares (57%) is suitable for agricultural production, and 5.3 million hectares (39%) of this is under cultivation.
Ghana has a tropical climate. The temperature is generally between 21-32°C (70-90°F). There are two rainy seasons, from March to July and from September to October, separated by a short cool dry season in August and a relatively long dry season in the south from mid-October to March. The north, also with a tropical climate, is dry and falls partly within the Sahelian zone. Annual rainfall in the south averages 2,030 mm, but varies greatly throughout the country, with the heaviest rainfall in the south-western part.
Ghana is not a mountainous country but has some highlands and some steep escarpments in the middle portions and isolated places in the northern parts. The land is relatively flat and the altitude is generally below 500m, with more than half of the country below 200m. The Volta River basin dominates the country's river system and includes the 8,480km2 Lake Volta (the largest artificial lake in the world), formed behind the Akosombo hydroelectric dam. The coastal area consists of plains and numerous lagoons near the estuaries of rivers.
In terms of vegetation, the north is predominantly savannah and the middle section (extending to the south-western part) is typical rainforest, while the coastal section has thicket interspersed with savannah.
The name Ghana originates from an African empire, which was located around River Niger between 400 and 1240AD. The period between the 15th and 19th Centuries witnessed a power struggle for the country amongst European nations for fortunes in gold and ivory, following the advent of the Portuguese who discovered gold in 1471 and built Elmina Castle in 1482. The other Europeans were the Dutch, Swedes, Danes, Prussians and the British. The battle for control and supremacy over the land culminated in the building of many forts and castles, which were used not only as trading posts but also as dungeons for the infamous slave trade. It is significant to note that out of the about forty-three (43) forts and castles in West Africa, thirty-three (33) are in Ghana alone. Out of these about twenty-five (25) are in good condition, including Elmina and Cape Coast Castles and Fort St. Jago, all three of which are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Monuments.
Ghana, formerly called the Gold Coast, became independent from British colonial rule on March 6, 1957. It was the first black African colony to achieve independence.
Rich mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, manganese, limestone, bauxite, iron ore as well as various clays and granite deposits. In 2008, Ghana produced 2,994,610 ounces of gold and 599,007 carats of diamond and it is also the second largest producer of gold in Africa.
Extensive forests, which are arguably the best managed in West Africa (with 252 permanent forest reserves in the rainforest zone alone. In total about 11% of Ghana is defined as forest.). Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. It is also the third largest producer of timber and the second largest exporter of wood and wood products in Africa, rich marine fishing resources (tuna and game fishing); Beautiful landscape, inviting sunshine, pristine beaches, exotic wildlife and exciting national parks and game reserves; rich culture and tradition and a world acclaimed warmth and hospitality of its people.
There are many Ghanaian dialects, and languages of which Akan, Dangbe, Ewe, Kasem, Gonja, Dagare, Gas, Dagbani and Nzema are the major languages.
The official language of the country is English, but French and Hausa are two major foreign languages spoken in the country.
Ghana’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The 2002 Population Census indicates that Christianity, Islam and Traditional Religion are the major faiths practiced in Ghana with the following representation: Christianity (68.8%), Islam (15.9%) and traditional religion (8.5%). A significant proportion (6.1%) has no religious affiliation.
The current population of Ghana is 28,078,770 based on the 2016 United estimates. Most of the population in concentrated in the southern part of the country with the highest density occurring in urban and cocoa producing areas.
Ghana's constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Christianity, Islam and Traditional Religion are the major faiths practiced in Ghana.
The country boasts of very good golf courses, safe and unspoiled beaches with world class hotels and restaurants. Most cities have many active 'Keep Fit Clubs', which have members from different countries. There are also facilities for game fishing (mauling).
Ghana practices a multiparty parliamentary democracy based on a constitution. This Fourth Republican Constitution, which came into force in 1992, provides for a unitary state governed by a President (and Cabinet) and a Unicameral National Assembly. It entrenches the separation of powers and offers appropriate checks and balances. The presidency has a four-year term and an incumbent can serve for a maximum of two terms. Parliament comprises a 230 seat National Assembly, which has a 4-year term.
The Supreme Court is at the apex of Ghana’s judiciary headed by the Chief Justice. The legal system is based on the English Common Law, where the courts are bound to develop the notions of fairness to the individual. The constitution also makes provision for continued recognition of traditional chiefs and customary law.
A decentralized central government administration has been fostered at local government level where there are a number of Regional coordinating Councils, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies which serve to involve grassroots participation in the formulation and implementation of government policies and the general development of their areas of jurisdiction.