Ghana - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, currency, language, health, local time, business hours and holidays, acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, temporary entry of materials and personal belongings, etc.

Last published date: 2020-08-31

Business Customs

Ghanaians tend to be somewhat traditional in both personal and business relationships. Exchange of greetings and pleasantries along with handshakes are obligatory aspects of business dealings in Ghana. An important convention to remember when visiting Ghana is the ‘right to left’ handshake tradition: if several people are present (regardless of their job title or age) be sure to shake hands with the person on your right first, working from your right to left until all have been greeted.

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 fairly 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 and international health certificate showing a current yellow fever immunization is required for entry into Ghana. For other travel information, please visit http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1124.html.

Visa Requirements

Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the 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. Visit the Embassy of Ghana web site at www.ghanaembassy.org for the most current visa information.

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspeople to the United States should be advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links.

State Department Visa Website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/
U.S. Embassy Ghana – Visa Section: http://ghana.usembassy.gov/visas.html 

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 July 30, 2020, the exchange rate is US$1 = GH₵5.6. 

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. 

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 high speed 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 provide non-stop flights to/from New York-JFK (JFK) four days per week. South African Airways provides non-stop flights to/from Washington-Dulles (IAD) fours day per week. Other airlines that currently fly into Accra include British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Alitalia, Air France, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Emirates. Flights within Ghana are available from Accra to Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi, Tamale and Wa through the domestic airlines Africa World Airlines and 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.

Taxis are plentiful but many are in poor condition. Be sure to negotiate the fare before embarking. Both chauffeured and self-driven rental cars are available. In addition to Uber, which was the first ride-hailing service to operate in Ghana, Bolt and Yango are also available. 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 safety, 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

Ghana operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Note that the time difference between Ghana and the United States varies throughout the year, as 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.

Ghanaian Holiday 2020

New Year’s Day

January 1

Independence Day

March 6

Good Friday

April 10

Easter Monday

April 13

May Day

May 1

Eid-ul-Fitr

May 25

Eid-al-Adha

July 31

Founders’ Day

August 4

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day

September 21

Farmer’s Day

December 4

Christmas Day

December 25

Boxing Day

December 26

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.

Health 

Malaria prophylaxis is very strongly recommended. For more information on health issues for travel to Ghana, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/destinationGhana.aspx
Effects of COVID-19

Ghana’s borders were closed to all passenger flights on March 17, 2020. It is therefore recommended to visit the U.S. State Department website (www.travel.state.gov/Ghana) for updates before planning a business trip.

Travel Related Web Resources

State Department Travel Information:
http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1124.html.

Embassy of Ghana:
http://www.ghanaembasy.org 

State Department Visa Website: 
http://travel.state.gov/visa/index.html

United States Visas
http://www.unitedstatesvisas.gov/

U.S. Embassy Ghana – Visa Section: 
http://ghana.usembassy.gov/visas.html 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Ghana Information:
http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationGhana.aspx.