Ghana is endowed with a broad range of natural resources, including arable land, forests, sizable deposits of gold and diamonds and a considerable potential for hydroelectric power. This study classifies Ghana as a small resource-abundant country. Its per capita cropland in 1970 was around 0.34 hectares, a figure below the average for resource-abundant countries (Table 10.1), but when it is combined with minerals, forests, and hydro, the status of Ghana as a resource-abundant country on the eve of the oil shocks is confirmed. In addition, Ghana's absolute GDP of US$2.2 billion at that time was above the average of the small resource-rich countries, an advantage for industrialization. Ghana also derived potential benefits for economic development from the fact that its dominant export crop cocoa, generates diffuse socioeconomic linkages.
Other initial conditions were also propitious. Like Malaysia, Ghana achieved independence from Britain in 1957 with institutions that included the rule of law, democracy, an effective civil service and a level of education that was high relative to those of its regional peer group. Ghana was also one of the wealthiest countries in sub-Saharan Africa with a per capita income close to that of Malaysia and South Korea. Finally, the economy was open and relatively undistorted, although economic growth during the 1950s, at around 4 per cent per annum, barely kept pace with population growth. Killick (1999 : 54) writing on the immediate post-independence period notes; 'In terms of average incomes, absence of a balance of payments constraint, a sound budgetary situation and a well-functioning public administration, Ghana compared well with many other of the nations starting on the road of economic modernization and development'. Ghana was the first black African state to receive independence and it was seen by many as a pilot case for Africa's readiness for independence.
Ghana may well have possessed more favourable preconditions for competitive industrialization than Malaysia, but its development trajectory conformed to the staple trap model of resource-abundant countries during the first twenty-five years