Ghana (GH)

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

English serves in this role de facto though there is no mention of official language in the constitution. (Aménagement linguistique)

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

No indigenous languages have any legal status. Akan languages (Twi Ashanti, Fanti, Twi Akuapem, etc.) are spoken by about half the population as maternal languages and serve a vehicular role. Ewe is spoken by a significant population in the southeast.

Hausa is used as a trade language in northern Ghana.

Over 70 language variants are spoken. Ethnologue has an extensive list at and a map at

c) Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

Akan (Twi, Fante), Gbe (Ewe), Dagaare, Anyi/Baule, Hausa

There is also a page on Ga in the More Languages section.

1.2  Policy / Politique

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Ghana at

b) Agencies / Agences :

Five institutions "involved in or responsible for African Language research" in Ghana (UNESCO 1985). Updated information is needed:

  • Department of Linguistics University of Ghana, Legon ACCRA
  • Bureau of Ghana Languages State House, ACCRA
  • Institute of Linguistics P.O. Box 378 - TAMALE
  • Language Centre, University of Ghana, Legon - ACCRA
  • Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon - ACCRA
  • Languages Department, University of Cape Coast CAPE COAST

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

Early in its history the Ghanaian government had 9 Ghanaian languages taught in schools: Akuapem-Twi, Asante-Twi, Dagbani, Dangbe, Ewe, Fante, Ga, Kasem, and Nizima. (Aménagement linguistique)

In recent years Ghana has pursued a monolinguistic English-only education policy [need source]

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 57.9%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

National languages are written in the Latin alphabet with some additional modified letters (extended characters) and diacritics. A chart showing the extended Latin characters and diacritics used in some Ghanaian languages is available at:

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

Two periodicals are published in Akan: Nkwantabisa and Akwansosem ... (Webbook) [information in 2005 has it that these are no longer published]

UNESCO (1985) reported the following periodicals (name, frequency of publication, circulation, language). This listing included the note: "Newsprint difficulties cause irregularity in publishing." Updated information is needed, though it may be that none are still published:

  • Akwansosem, monthly, -, Akan
  • Central Telegraph, monthly, -, Akan
  • Christian Messenger, monthly, 30,000, Akan/Ga
  • Kakyivole, monthly, 10,500, Nzema
  • Labaare, monthly, 2,000, Kasem
  • Mansralo, monthly, -, Ga
  • Motabiada, monthly, 10,000, Ewe
  • Nkwantabisa, monthly, 20,000, Akan

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

In the absence of an adequate input system, some Ghanaians type "3" where one would use the "ɛ" (open-e, one of 7 vowels in a number of languages). See discussion at

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines:
    • 443,000 (2005) (Ghanaweb 6 December 2005)
    • Telephone mainlines: 12 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Mobile subscriptions: 2,655,000 (2005) (Ghanaweb 6 December 2005)

"Ghana is one of few countries in Africa where landlines have experienced sustained growth." (Towards an African e-Index)

"Most people in rural areas rely on communications centres for access to telecoms services, but the popularisation of mobile telephone kiosks in the country may reduce this." (Towards an African e-Index)

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

"In comparing household telephones to other ICTs, it is evident that radio, and to some extent television, are the most popular ICT facilities in the country. ... By the end of 2004, the NCA had allocated frequency to 140 companies to operate FM radio stations in the country, of which 84 had commenced business." (Towards an African e-Index)

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth: )
  • Geographic coverage:

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs: 3.3 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés: "Internet cafés are the most important source of Internet access in Ghana. In early 2003, there were more than 750 Internet cafés in Ghana, mostly using dial-up. About 90% of these are located in Accra, with the rest in other cities such as Kumasi and Takoradi (Ahiabenu II 2003). The largest cyber café is Busy Internet in the central part of Accra, with over 100 computers." (Towards an African e-Index)
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets: There have been some ICT4D projects introducing telecenters and computers in community development contexts: [need more examples and updates]
    • Greenstar project in Patriensah (near Kumasi) in about 2000
    • The Ghanaian government announced plans in 2005 to establish Community Information Centres (CIC) in the 230 constituencies (Ghanaweb 2 June 2005)

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 368,000 Internet users as of Sept/05, 1.7% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

"While Internet penetration in Ghana seems very low according to ITU Basic ICT Statistics (2005), the number of Internet users per 10,000 inhabitants increased to 172 in 2004, which is higher than the African average of 123.21. By way of comparison, in 2003 South Africa had more than 3.1 million Internet users and Egypt 1.9 million users, while Ghana had 170,000 (ITU 2003). Most users in Ghana have access through shared Internet connections – offices, cyber cafés, friends, and to a lesser extent, homes (Ahiabenu II 2003)." (Towards an African e-Index)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.17 (ITU 2006); 0.21, ranked 142 (ITU 2007)
  • ICT Opportunity Index (ICT-OI?):
  • ICT Development Index (IDI):

2.3  Policy / Politique

"In response to global policy changes in the ICT industry, Ghana was among the first African countries to reform its ICT sector and establish the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks to support the growth of the sector. Since 1990, the government of Ghana has liberalised the telecommunications sector with the aim of enabling the private sector to participate in the provision of services to increase access and coverage, introduce value-added services and boost consumer access to the state-of-theart technology (Frempong and Atubra 2001)." (Towards an African e-Index)

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Ghana" has some information and links:

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

IICD has a page on Ghana at . Highlights of program there include:

  • Collaboration with GINKS, Kofi Annan Centre, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (see next section for links)
  • Social Enterprise Development (SEND) Foundation of West Africa

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  3.c. Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Ghana," Africa ICT Policy Monitor,

Dwyer, David. 1997. Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Akan,"

Frempang, Godfred, et al. 2005. "Ghana." In Gillwald, Alison (ed.), Towards an African e-Index: Household and individual ICT Access and Usage Across 10 African Countries. (Research ICT Africa!, )

Ghanaweb. 2005. "Minister Inaugurates Information Centres in UER." Thursday, 2 June 2005

______. 2005. "Ghana now has 2,655,000 mobile subscribers." Tuesday, 6 December 2005

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2007. World Information Society Report 2007. Geneva: ITU.

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2006.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Ghana,"

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Ghana,"

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa. 1985. African Community Languages and Their Use in Literacy and Education: A Regional Survey. Dakar: UNESCO.

Wikipedia, "Languages of Ghana,"

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