For its size, Ghana has always been one of the richest countries in material and human resources in the history of developing countries.
The country’s material wealth derived mainly from its abundant mineral resources and the rich land which favored the country with valuable forest resources, such as timber, plantation, cash crops, and a variety of food crops.
Among the mineral wealth of the country, the richest in terms of its market value has always been gold. Indeed, it was most appropriate that from the days of the Portuguese adventurers in the fifteenth century right up to independence, the country was called The Gold Coast.
The next important mineral wealth of the country is diamonds.
Two other valuable minerals which have supported the economy of the country are manganese ore and bauxite.
Although only about a third of the country’s land constitutes the forest zone, Ghana derives much income from raw and sawn timber produced both for domestic use and for export.
But, since about 1925, the greatest source of foreign earnings of the country has been the cocoa cultivated by farmers in the forest zone.
Endowed by these rich natural resources, Ghana has equally been fortunate in her human resources, producing men who played significant roles at different stages of the nation’s history.
Indeed, the country’s history abounds in examples of men of wisdom, ability, and foresight, who not only became a pride of their people but also protected their ancestral sovereign rights.
Among these illustrious sons were patriots like Nana Kwamena Ansa, a fifteenth-century king of Elmina, whose wisdom and foresight amazed the early Portuguese when they sought his permission to build the present castle, St. George, on his land.
Another ruler among many others worth mentioning was King Aggrey who, in the nineteenth century, suffered hardship in exile because of his firm stand against the attempts made by the British authorities to divest him of his constitutional rights as the sovereign ruler of Cape Coast.
Long before King Aggrey, a Ghanaian, a native of Axim, had placed Africa on the map of world scholarship.
He was Anthony William Amo, who made history as the first black African to pursue advanced studies in German universities, where he crowned his academic work with a doctorate degree in philosophy in 1734.
Part of the address made by his supervisor, Professor Martin Loescher of the University of Wittenberg, when Amo was being awarded the degree is worth quoting:
"We proclaim Africa and its regions of Guinea.....The Gold Coast, so-called by Europeans on account of its abundant and copious yield of Gold ....the mother not only of many good things and the treasures of nature but also of the most successful minds of your genius: we proclaim her quite deservedly.
Among these auspicious minds, your genius stands out particularly, the noblest and most distinguished Sir, seeing that you have excellently proved the felicity and superiority of your genius, the solidity and refinement of your learning and teaching, in countless examples up to now and even in this our University with great honor in all worthy things, and now also in your present dissertations."
It was but a natural sequel that Anthony William Amo was appointed to teach at the highest centers of learning in Europe, the first known African south of the Sahara to do so.