Ghana - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector

Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects.

Last published date: 2022-07-22

U.S. companies are strongly encouraged to contact the U.S. Commercial Service Ghana for assistance prior to bidding on government projects for the following reasons:

  • The U.S. Commercial Service can provide information on the market, which can be helpful when preparing a successful proposal. It can also assist in obtaining more information about a proposed project.
  • Despite nominally being covered by the Public Procurement Act and its tender processes, procurement processes can often be sole source, and lack clear timeframes and procedures.
  • Factors that add value to bids/proposals for public tenders include identifying a funding source, providing a feasibility study for the project, and having a partnership with a local company.
  • The U.S. Commercial Service can help verify the legitimacy of an unsolicited request for participation in a government tender. There have been some fraudulent procurement offers that utilize real government tenders, falsely claiming to represent the government body in question. There have also been some fraudulent companies that put forward nonexistent government tenders; and

Government ministries, departments, agencies and local governments have their own tender committees, which buy directly from suppliers. Ghanaian law stipulates that purchases below a certain threshold are reserved for local companies. Because these thresholds can change, U.S. companies are advised to contact the U.S. Commercial Service Ghana for information on the latest threshold amounts. There is no requirement for a local agent to be able to sell to the Ghanaian government. However, local agents can be useful in providing leads and contacts. U.S. suppliers can also take advantage of the margin of preference given to domestic suppliers of goods and services.

Note: Although a local partner can be of great assistance when entering the market, the U.S. Commercial Service Ghana highly recommends that due diligence be performed on any new potential partner prior to entering into any type of business arrangement with a U.S. company.

U.S. companies bidding on government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center, coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.

Resources: Public Procurement Authority of Ghana

Financing Projects

Large projects are usually financed by external sources such as multilateral development banks, international development finance institutions, private equity funds, international commercial banks and export credit agencies. Several local banks have demonstrated their capability to participate in the financing of large-scale projects. Due to the non-availability of government guarantees, the use of alternative enhanced credit facilities such as partial risk guarantees are common.

Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales

Price, payment terms, and financing can be a significant factor in winning a government contract. Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB). A helpful guide for working with the MDBs is the Trade Finance Guide.

Successful companies usually have a “ground game” in the country where the project will be implemented.  This often includes relationships with implementing ministries and local MDB officials, local partners, or local presence.  Companies need to be able to evaluate opportunities as they know their capabilities, bandwidth, and risk tolerance.  Companies are most successful in projects in markets where they already have relevant experience, and willing to put in the time; project development can take one to three years. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDOC) International Trade Administration (ITA) has a Foreign Commercial Service Officer stationed at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World Bank.  The U.S. Commercial Service’s Commercial Liaison Office to the African Development Bank is located in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.  See the Commercial Services’ African Development Bank resources and contact Ashley Ndir at; Telephone: + 225 05 54 001 241.  Connect with our Commercial Liaison Offices to the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.