Generalizes on the best strategy to enter the market, e.g., visiting the country; importance of relationships to finding a good partner; use of agents.
Ghanaians like to take time to get to know potential business partners before launching directly into business negotiations. Companies exploring potential partnership are encouraged to enjoy a meal together; learn about Ghana’s rich culture, including food, music, and the arts; the proud history of its independence movement; and its long-lasting friendship with the United States.
For most Ghanaian business sectors, there are no laws requiring the retention of a local agent or distributor when exporting to Ghana. There has been a recent push for local content and local participation requirements in several industry sectors such as oil and gas and mining.
In all sectors, the U.S. Commercial Service has observed that U.S. companies are less likely to experience problems entering the market when they retain an experienced agent or distributor who has a thorough understanding of the local economy and shares the same expectations as their U.S. partner. U.S. Commercial Service Ghana at firstname.lastname@example.org or +233 (0) 30 274 1329 can assist with identifying and conducting due diligence on potential local partners.
Under the laws of Ghana, a foreign investor or company may collaborate with a Ghanaian businessman or company through a joint venture (JV) agreement. The JV agreement, taking the form of a distributorship or representation agreement, must be properly executed. It must state, among other things, the shareholder structure and the detailed rights and obligations of each party to the agreement. Under the Stamp Duty Act, any agreements executed between the parties must be stamped appropriately and the necessary stamp duty paid.
In a JV involving a foreign partner, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) requires a minimum capital of US$200,000 from the foreign investor. A foreign investor is also allowed to set up and retain full ownership in the business venture if it invests a minimum of US$500,000. However, if the objectives of business include trading, then the GIPC minimum capital requirement is US$1,000,000.
A foreign shareholder can satisfy the minimum equity capital requirements two ways: cash transferred through the banking system in Ghana or its equal value in the form of goods, machinery, or other tangible assets imported specifically to establish the enterprise. All imported items for the purpose of satisfying the foreign shareholder minimum capital must be covered by a Destination Inspection Report from an accredited inspection company, stating the value and the conditions of the goods. It must be noted that consideration for goodwill of a business or service rendered by the foreign partners cannot be used to satisfy the minimum foreign equity capital.