Ghana Defense and Foreign Policy

ghana military spending and defense budget

Foreign policy and defense

Ghana is a nation in Western Africa. Its capital city is Accra. Ghana has good relations with the major donors in the west, but in recent years has also approached China, which makes extensive investments in infrastructure in the country. Ghana has acted as mediator in several regional conflicts and the country’s army plays an active role in peacekeeping forces in Africa and internationally.

ghana military spending and defense budget

Following an orientation towards the Socialist East Bloc under Jerry Rawling’s military rule in the 1980s, Ghana’s relationship with the West improved during the 1990s. The country’s transition to democracy in 2000 and the market liberal policies that followed it have contributed to good relations with important trading partners and donor countries such as the US and the UK, where many Ghanaians also live in exile. In 2009, US President Barack Obama made his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa in Ghana.

Regional relations

Ghana plays an active role internationally and especially regionally, where former President John Kufuor has mediated in the conflicts in Liberia and Ivory Coast. With Nigeria, Ghana has traditionally strong ties, especially economic ones. Nigerian companies are increasing their presence in Ghana, and there has been friction at times over the large and growing number of Nigerian guest workers.

With Burkina Faso in the north, Ghana has relatively good relations. During a period in the 1980s, the cooperation was very close, and the then military leaders of the two countries planned to form a union. However, the plans died with Burkina Faso’s President Thomas Sankara, who was assassinated in 1987.

Ghana’s relationship with Togo in the east has often been strained. Both sides previously accused the counterpart of being a refuge for exile groups. However, after the change of power in Ghana in 2000, relations have been good.

The relationship with the Ivory Coast in the west, with recurring civil and refugee flows, is a challenge for Ghana. Relations improved after Ghanaian President Mill’s death in 2012. According to the Ivory Coast government, Mill had supported the deposed Ivorian President Gbagbo during the conflict in the Ivory Coast in 2010–2011. Tensions still exist between the countries as Ivory Coast accuses Ghana of hosting Gbagbo supporters.
A border dispute over an oil and gas-rich sea area has been settled under friendly forms. After a number of fruitless attempts to resolve the conflict themselves, the countries referred the matter to the International Maritime Court in 2014, which in September 2017 ruled in favor of Ghana. Both countries said they respected the verdict.

Ghana’s relations with the Gambia deteriorated sharply in 2005 when it was revealed that the Gambian security service had murdered 44 Ghanaian men, suspected of being mercenaries with the mission of murdering the country’s president Yahya Jammeh. Reconciliation was reached between the two countries after an investigation by the UN and Ecowas ruled that the Gambian regime was not involved in the deaths.


The military has previously been deeply involved in the country’s politics but is now under civilian control. Its relations with the political leadership are good. Ghana’s army plays an active role in peacekeeping forces both regionally and internationally, and is usually among the ten largest countries in terms of troop contributions to UN peacekeeping operations. Ghanaian soldiers have been sent to the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Congo-Kinshasa, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali and the Middle East, among others. Under the auspices of the regional cooperation organization Ecowa, Ghana has sent troops to, for example, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The size of the military is estimated at 15,500 men (2014).


Army: 11 500 men (2017)

The air Force: 2,000 men (2017)

The fleet: 2,000 men (2017)

Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 0.4 percent (2017)

Military spending’s share of the state budget: 1.7 percent (2017)



Maize harvest is lost

Northern Ghana is affected by the most severe floods in 30 years. The important corn harvest in the poor northern provinces is lost.


Oil on the coast of Ghana

A greater amount of oil is found off the coast of Ghana. President John Kufuor says the oil deposit will transform the country into an “African tiger”.


Ghana celebrates 50 years of independence

Ghana celebrates the 50th anniversary of its liberation from colonial power Britain.