Ghana - Country Commercial Guide
Market Entry Strategy

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.

Last published date: 2020-08-30

Ghanaians like to take some time to get to know potential business partners before launching directly into talk of business. 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 requirements in a number of industry sectors, and legislation was passed in 2013 to regulate local participation in the petroleum sector.

In all sectors, the U.S. Commercial Service has observed that U.S. companies who 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, are less likely to experience problems entering the market. The U.S. Commercial Service can assist with identifying 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 agreement. The joint venture agreement, i.e. distributorship, representation, must be properly executed, stating among other things the shareholder structure as well as a 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 joint venture involving a foreign partner, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre requires a minimum capital of US$200,000 from the foreign investor or foreign company. A foreign investor is also allowed to set up and retain full ownership in the particular business venture if it invests a minimum of US$500,000. However, if the objectives of business include trading, then the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre 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.