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By West African standards, Ghana has a relatively diverse and rich natural resource base. Minerals - principally gold, diamonds, manganese ore and bauxite - are produced and exported. In 2007, a major oil discovery off the coast of Ghana led to greater multinational interest in entering the Ghanaian market. Timber and marine resources are important but declining resources.

Agriculture remains a mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than one-third of GDP and about 55% of formal employment. Cash crops consist primarily of cocoa and cocoa products, which typically provide about one-third of export revenue, timber products, coconuts and other palm products, shea nuts, and coffee. Ghana also has established a successful program of nontraditional agricultural products for export including pineapples, cashews, and peppers. Cassava, yams, plantains, corn, rice, peanuts, millet, and sorghum are the basic foodstuffs. Fish, poultry, and meat also are important dietary staples.

Ghana's industrial base is relatively advanced compared to many other African countries. Industries include textiles, apparel, steel (using scrap), tires, oil refining, flour milling, beverages, tobacco, simple consumer goods, and car, truck, and bus assembly. Industry, including mining, manufacturing, construction and electricity, accounts for about 30% of GDP.

Gold shares the top export revenue spot with cocoa, each bringing in about $1 billion in 2006. Tourism has become one of Ghana's largest foreign income earners (ranking third in 2005 at $836 million), and the Ghanaian Government has placed strong emphasis on further development of the sector. The country's largest source of foreign exchange is remittances from abroad, which totaled about $4 billion in 2006.

Ghana's post-independence economic story has been a difficult one, but over the last 20 years, stability and growth have increasingly taken hold. Real GDP growth has averaged 4% since the mid-1980s and was about 5% over the past decade. Inflation and interest rates spiked in 2008 due to twin external shocks of food and fuel price increases. Ghana's poverty rate has also come down markedly, from 52% in 1992 to 28.5% in 2006. Ghana is on track to meet the Millennium Development goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.