Ghana - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview

Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.

Last published date: 2020-08-30

Ghana is a country of roughly 30 million people. It is a young and fast-growing country, with a relatively high population growth rate of 2.2 percent. More than half the population (57 percent) is under 25 years old.

The country’s capital, Accra, is a bustling metropolitan area that is home to roughly 2 million people. Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region north of Accra, is another large population center and an active commercial center with roughly the same population as Accra.

International visitors arriving by air will enter Ghana through Kotoka International Airport in Accra and pass through its gleaming new Terminal 3, which opened in September 2018. Business travelers are advised to check with Ghanaian authorities regarding visitor visas and requirements for obtaining visas upon entry into Ghana.

There are several business hotels in Accra, and restaurants offering Ghanaian cuisine and as well as food from around the world are plentiful. Taxis are available at the airport and Uber opened its doors in Ghana in 2018, doing a brisk business for visitors and locals alike. Money can be exchanged for Ghanaian Cedis at Kotoka International Airport or at hotels and at some banks. Kumasi offers a few hotels that meet international business standards; and other locations offer a smattering of budget to mid-priced hotels.

With its fast-growing, youthful population, Ghana offers a market with many opportunities for sales of foreign products and services. American products are valued for their quality, durability, state-of-the-art technology, customer service and after-sales customer care. Ghana is also an excellent platform for market entry into 55 countries of Sub Saharan Africa, a market of 1.3 billion people.

Ghana was selected to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which is slated to go into effect in January 2021 and is designed to facilitate intra African trade and investment, lowering or eliminating tariffs on a range of goods and services. Ghana’s role as host of the Secretariat is seen by many as an opportunity to become the commercial hub of West Africa and beyond, and many companies are eyeing Ghana not only as a vibrant market itself, but also as a springboard for Pan African market entry and expansion.

Many Ghanaians have strong personal or business ties to the United States, and a strong affinity for American brands and technology. They are open to new American brand ideas and customer experiences.

U.S. companies seeking to do business in Ghana are advised to take a long view, taking time to get to know potential business partners and to develop relationships that go beyond email and texts. U.S. companies that  can send a representative to visit Ghana and meet potential partners, undertake site visits and walk Ghana’s bustling streets will make a favorable impression.

Ghana is blessed with a rich diversity of ethnic groups, each with its own unique culture and way of life. The major ethnic groups are Akans (47.5% ); Mole Dagbon (16.6%); Ewe (13.9%); (7.4%), Gurma (5.7%); Guang (3.7%); Grusi (2.5%); Kusaasi (1.2%); and Bikpakpaam a.k.a. Konkomba (3.5%).

The official language and the language of business is English, which is taught in all schools. Ghanaians speak local languages as well and many are conversant in several local languages.

Ghanaians are known to be very hospitable people, and this trait spans all ethnics groups. They are also very religious, with roughly 95% engaging in an organized religion.

Although there are occasional disagreements in rural areas among ethnic groups, mainly over land ownership or succession, Ghana has enjoyed peaceful transitions of government following elections for decades.

The December 2020 Presidential election is generating lively debate between the incumbent New Patriotic Party of President Nana Akufo-Addo and his challenger, John Mahama of the  opposition National Democratic Congress. The 2020 election is expected to continue the tradition of peaceful transfers of power if the opposition party wins.

Economy

Ghana has enjoyed average annual economic growth of 7 percent since 2017, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The economy, however, is largely dependent on the export of commodities such as gold, cocoa, oil and gas, which makes it vulnerable to global economic slowdowns and declines in commodity prices. GDP growth is expected to pull back considerably in 2020, from 6.5% in to 2019 to a projected 0.9 percent, because of the damaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the world economy.

The services sector is the largest contributor to Ghana’s GDP - 43.1% as of the second quarter of 2019. The industrial sector is the next largest sector of the economy - 31.53%; followed by the agricultural sector with a 18.27% contribution to GDP. Agriculture employs about 45 percent of Ghana’s workforce, mainly consisting of small landholders.

Ghana’s main import partners are China, 45.4 percent of total imports; the United States, 12.9 percent; Nigeria, 9.75 percent; Belgium, 8.6 percent; Turkey, 5.8 percent; Canada, 4.7 percent; and India, 4.7 percent.