Ghana’s Top 10 Exports
by Daniel Workman
Ghana is a West African nation that shares its southern coastline with the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, the Republic of Ghana shipped an estimated US$13.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 30.3% increase from 2016 (no data for 2015) but a -18.8% downtick from 2018 to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 84% of products exported from Ghana were bought by importers in: India (21.5% of the global total), China (11.9%), South Africa (10.2%), Switzerland (9.5%), Netherlands (7.2%), Malaysia (6.5%), United States (3.6%), United Arab Emirates (3.5%), Spain (3.4%), United Kingdom (2.9%), France (2.1%) and Italy (1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 48% of Ghana’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 31.4% were sold to importers in Europe. Ghana shipped another 15% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to North America (4.3%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.2%), and Ocean’s New Zealand and Australia only (0.1%).
Given Ghana’s population of 30.2 million people, its total $13.9 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $500 for every resident in the West African country.
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ghanaian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Ghana.
Gems, precious metals: US$4.63 billion (33.3% of total exports)
Mineral fuels including oil: $4.57 billion (32.9%)
Cocoa: $2.4 billion (17.3%)
Ores, slag, ash: $611.6 million (4.4%)
Fruits, nuts: $377.6 million (2.7%)
Wood: $252 million (1.8%)
Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $178.7 million (1.3%)
Meat/seafood preparations: $145 million (1%)
Aluminum: $124.8 million (0.9%)
Rubber, rubber articles: $66.2 million (0.5%)
Ghana ’s top 10 exports accounted for 96.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Ores, slag and ash represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 76.5% from 2018 to 2019 and propelled by higher international sales of manganese or aluminum ores and concentrates. In second place for improving export sales was wood via a 38.9% gain. Ghana’s shipments of aluminum posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 12.2%.
The leading decliner among Ghana’s top 10 export categories was fruits and nuts thanks to a -36.6% drop year over year.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Ghana’s most valuable export product is gold (33.2% of the global total). In second place is crude oil (31.3%) trailed by cocoa beans (10.9%), manganese ores or concentrates (4.1%), cocoa paste (3%), cocoa butter and oil (2.6%) and refined petroleum oils (1.4%)
In macroeconomic terms, Ghana’s total exported goods represent 6.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($209.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 9% for 2018. These metrics suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Ghana’s total economic performance albeit based on relatively short time frame.