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, companies should 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. Conferences and major meetings may also start with a call to prayer or a blessing of the meeting.
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.
A valid U.S. passport, visa for entry to Ghana, 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 Consulate in New York at 19 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 832-1300. There is also a Consulate in Little Rock, Arkansas. Companies may be able to express ship passports to one of these locations for processing. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Ghanaian Embassy or Consulate.
U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website or the U.S. Embassy Ghana – Visa Section.
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 May, 2023, the cedi is valued at approximately 11 cedi to the U.S. dollar.
Fixed-line telecommunications services are provided by Vodafone and MTN.
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. There are four mobile telecom providers (MTN, Vodafone, Airtel-Tigo and Glo). Ghana’s electrical standard is 230 volts, 50 Hz. Hotels, offices, and residences can use a mix of outlets, but the three-pronged (grounded) British-style is the most prevalent. Companies should bring converters.
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). Several other airlines that currently fly into Accra including British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Air France, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, 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 do not 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.
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. Following are the Ghanaian holidays observed by the U.S. Embassy for 2023.
New Year’s Day
Third week in April
Last week in June
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
The personal baggage of visitors 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.
Malaria prophylaxis is very strongly recommended and should be obtained prior to travel. Proof of Yellow Fever 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: On June 1, 2023, Ghana phased out Covid vaccination requirements for travel to Ghana. Passengers are no longer required to demonstrate that they have been fully vaccinated or to complete the Ghana Health Declaration and certify their vaccination via the Panabios system. These requirements are subject to change, so before planning your business trip, see the State Department’s dedicated website on travel to Ghana and COVID-19.