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Geography of Ghana

Ghana is located on West Africa's Gulf of Guinea only a few degrees north of the Equator. Half of the country lies less than 152 meters (500 ft.) above sea level, and the highest point is 883 meters (2,900 ft.). The 537-kilometer (334-mi.) coastline is mostly a low, sandy shore backed by plains and scrub and intersected by several rivers and streams, most of which are navigable only by canoe. A tropical rain forest belt, broken by heavily forested hills and many streams and rivers, extends northward from the shore, near the Côte d'Ivoire frontier. This area, known as the "Ashanti," produces most of the country's cocoa, minerals, and timber. North of this belt, the country varies from 91 to 396 meters (300-1,300 ft.) above sea level and is covered by low bush, park-like savanna, and grassy plains.

The climate is tropical. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry; the southwest corner, hot and humid; and the north, hot and dry. There are two distinct rainy seasons in the south--May-June and August-September; in the north, the rainy seasons tend to merge. A dry, northeasterly wind, the Harmattan, blows in January and February. Annual rainfall in the coastal zone averages 83 centimeters (33 in.).

Volta Lake, the largest man-made lake in the world, extends from the Akosombo Dam in southeastern Ghana to the town of Yapei, 520 kilometers (325 mi.) to the north. The lake generates electricity, provides inland transportation, and is a potentially valuable resource for irrigation and fish farming.

Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Côte d'Ivoire and Togo

Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 2 00 W

Map references: Africa

Area:
total: 238,540 sq km
land: 230,020 sq km
water: 8,520 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon

Land boundaries:
total: 2,093 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 548 km, Côte d'Ivoire 668 km, Togo 877 km

Coastline: 539 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north

Terrain: mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Afadjato 880 m

Natural resources: gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 7%
permanent pastures: 22%
forests and woodland: 35%
other: 24% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 60 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: dry, dusty, harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts

Environment - current issues: recent drought in north severely affecting agricultural activities; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; poaching and habitat destruction threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note: Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake; northeasterly harmattan wind (January to March)

See also : Ghana



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