Ghana - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.

Last published date: 2022-03-31

Business Customs

Ghanaians tend to be somewhat traditional in both personal and business relationships. Exchange of greetings and pleasantries along with handshakes (or arm bumps in the Covid era) are obligatory aspects of business dealings in Ghana. If meeting a group of people and shaking hands, the usual convention is to greet people on your right first and then work left (counterclockwise) through the group. 

If visiting Ghana for the first time, be prepared for a different cultural understanding of time. Meetings often start late and last for a longer time than a similar meeting would in the United States. For this reason, flexibility should be built into meeting schedules. Ghanaians find it polite to spend at least the first few minutes of the meeting exchanging pleasantries – it can be off-putting to many Ghanaians to plunge straight into a business conversation without some social pleasantries first.

Business dress in Ghana is usually formal. Most Ghanaian businesspeople wear business suits/dresses during working hours. Traditional Ghanaian attire is often worn after work for social functions and some Ghanaian businesspeople wear traditional clothing during the business day – particularly on Fridays. Lightweight clothing (whether business or leisure) is appropriate year-round in Ghana because of the very warm climate and high humidity.

Business cards are widely used in Ghana, so be sure to have an adequate supply for your visit. It is common practice to give a business card to almost everyone you meet in a business setting.

Travel Advisory 

A valid U.S. passport, visa for entry to Ghana, proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and international health certificate showing a current yellow fever immunization are required for entry into Ghana. Please see the health section for more details. 

See the State Department’s Ghana International Travel Page for entry and exit requirements, including the requirement for a visa, as well as other essential information.

Travelers are strongly encouraged to register their trip with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP.  This free service allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Travelers will receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. Registration also helps the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family situation.

For visa information, contact the Embassy of Ghana in Washington, DC  for the latest information and details.  Address: Embassy of Ghana, 3512 International Drive NW, Washington, DC  20008; telephone (202) 686-4520. Consular services are also available at the Ghana Permanent Mission to the UN at 19 East 47th Street, New York, NY  10017, telephone (212) 832-1300; and the Honorary Consulate of Ghana, 3434 Locke Lane, Houston, TX, Telephone (713) 960-8806. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Ghanaian Embassy or Consulate.  Note: The Honorary Consulate in Houston suspended visa issuance in 2021 and may not have resumed.

For information about how current or potential Ghanaian business partners can apply for a visa for the United States, see: U.S. Embassy Ghana – Consular Section website.

Health

Malaria prophylaxis is very strongly recommended and should be obtained prior to travel. Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination and Covid vaccination is required for a visa and for entry into Ghana. For more information on health issues and other recommended vaccines for travel to Ghana, visit the CDC’s Traveler’s Health website for Ghana.

COVID-19-Specific Requirements: COVID-19 has introduced an additional set of medical readiness considerations.  COVID-19-related travel requirements for entry into Ghana are subject to change.  As of March 28th, 2022, the Government of Ghana announced the removal of negative Covid tests prior to flying to Ghana and again upon landing in Ghana.   All persons 18 years-old and above arriving in Ghana will be required to provide evidence of full vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) of Ghana.  This means two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or Sputnik V, or one dose of Johnson and Johnson.  Travelers should hand carry original copies of their COVID-19 vaccine cards.  

Before planning your business trip, see the State Department’s dedicated website on travel to Ghana and COVID-19.  Travelers should also be aware of current CDC requirements for U.S. citizens returning to the United States, including showing a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than one day before travel. Antigen or PCR tests are acceptable.  There is also an option for people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days but may continue to test positive to obtain a “fit to fly” letter.  However, it may not be possible to obtain such documentation in Ghana, and travelers should be prepared to wait for a negative antigen test before they are allowed to travel to the United States.  COVID-19 testing is readily available in Ghana, including outside the airport. 

Currency

Ghana’s currency is the cedi, the symbol: ‘₵’ is used or, alternatively, GH₵ or GHS. The Bank of Ghana issues coins in 1 pesewa (cent), 5, 10, 20, and 50 pesewas as well as 1-cedi coins. Paper currency is issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200-cedi denominations. Ghana’s cedi was revalued in 2007 by dropping four zeros from the currency. There remains some limited confusion about this policy; prices are occasionally quoted in millions of cedis when the actual cost is in the hundreds

As of March 2022, the cedi is valued at approximately 7.1 cedi to the U.S. dollar.

Telecommunications/Electric

Fixed-line telecommunications services are provided by Vodafone through a joint venture with Ghana Telecom. There are currently five mobile operators providing voice and data services. Several data transfer companies have established networks and are serving banks and other institutions. Privately owned communication centers that provide pay phone services can be found in major cities. Prepaid calling cards for both local and international calls can be purchased from travel agents, post offices and gas stations.

Travelers can get a SIM card for their mobile phone at dedicated stores.  The process requires additional government identification registration procedures if the traveler is staying for more than 30 days.  All four mobile telecom providers (MTN, Vodafone, Airtel-Tigo and Glo) and the Internet Service Providers offer 4G LTE Connectivity. MTN, being the largest wireless network, is already looking at 5G options. This access to highspeed data is due to the Main One Cable program – a submarine communications cable that will eventually reach from Europe to South Africa.

Ghana’s electrical standard is 230 volts, 50 Hz. A three-pronged (grounded) British-style plug is used almost exclusively.

Transportation

Ghana has about 41,800 miles of public roads (a quarter of which are paved); one international airport, in Accra; and three domestic airports, in Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale. There are two main ports, located at Tema and Sekondi-Takoradi. Though most rail lines are dysfunctional, work is ongoing to restore them to connect the entire country.

International flights to/from Accra’s Kotoka International Airport (ACC) are currently offered by more than 20 international airlines. Delta Airlines provides daily, direct flights to/from New York-JFK (JFK) and United Airlines provides frequent flights to/from Washington -Dulles (IAD). Other airlines that currently fly into Accra include British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Air France, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Emirates. Flights within Ghana are available from Accra to Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi, Tamale and Ho through the domestic airlines Africa World Airlines and/or Passionair.

Despite the major expansion and improvement in the road network in Accra, traffic at peak hours is often congested. Some roads on the outskirts are relatively narrow and poorly maintained, with rather daunting open gutters. Driving after dark outside of Accra or other major cities is not recommended because of a lack of adequate street lighting; disabled vehicles blocking the roadside; animals and pedestrians using the roads; and local drivers who don’t use headlights.

Both chauffeured and self-driven rental cars are available. Taxis are plentiful, inexpensive, and arrive quickly, but are often in poor condition. The widespread availability of Uber and Bolt in Accra obviates the need to negotiate a price and creates a digital record of your routes that you can share with others.  Cash payment is recommended. The use of buses and ‘tro-tros’ (vans that make multiple stops and are hailed by the side of the road) is not recommended for business travelers because of a lack of security and social distancing in the Covid area, as well as convenience and reliability. 

Language

The official language of Ghana is English. Most businesspeople are fluent in English.

Local languages include Asante (14.8 percent), Ewe (12.7 percent), Fante (9.9 percent), Boron/Brong (4.6 percent), Dagomba (4.3 percent), Dangme (4.3 percent) Dagarte/Dagaba (3.7 percent), Akyem (3.4 percent) Ga (3.4 percent) and Akuapem (2.9 percent).

Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays

All of Ghana operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or UTC+0. The time difference between Ghana and the United States varies throughout the year because Ghana does not adjust for daylight savings time.

Business travelers should verify the dates of Ghanaian holidays prior to scheduling a visit. Business establishments are normally closed on Ghanaian holidays. The U.S. Embassy is closed on Ghanaian and U.S. holidays.

 

New Year’s Day

January 1

Constitution Day

January 7

Independence Day

March 6 (Observed March 7)

Good Friday

April 15

Easter Monday

April 18

May Day

May 1

Observed May 2

Eid-ul-Fitr

May 3

Eid-al-Adha

July 10

Observed July 11

Founders’ Day

August 4

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day

September 21

Farmer’s Day

December 4

Christmas Day

December 26

Boxing Day

December 27

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

The personal baggage of a visitor is admitted free of duty. Duty is not charged on items for personal use, including clothing, household items and electrical goods – as well as instruments/tools for professional use. Unaccompanied bona fide personal and household effects sent in advance must be entered on a Passenger Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration form at the time of arrival.