Doing Business In Ghana

  1. Ghana’s overall Doing Business ranking is 64 out of 185 economies, recording a 1 point decrease compared to last year. This decrease reflects a drop in 7 out of 10 indicators.
  2. Enterprise Surveys (2007) identified Electricity and Access to Finance as the biggest obstacle to running a business in Ghana. 22.2% of firms reported having a line of credit or loan from a financial institution (similar to the regional average of 22.7%). As regards to Electricity, the number of power outages in a typical month was 9.5 for the firms surveyed, compared to the regional average of 8.9.
  3. Ghana’s major sectors covered by the Investing Across Sectors indicators are fully open to foreign capital participation. It takes 10 procedures and 72 days to establish a foreign-owned limited liability company (LLC) that wants to engage in international trade, in Accra, Ghana. This is longer than the IAB regional average for Sub-Saharan Africa.
  4. According to the latest World Bank Worldwide Governance Report (2010), Ghana scores between the 50th and 70th percentile for all indicators except the Political Stability indicator, for which it is slightly under the 50th percentile.
  5. Ghana’s economic freedom score is 60.7, making its economy the 84th freest in the 2012 Index. Its overall score is 1.3 points better than last year due to improvements in four of the 10 freedoms including labor freedom and monetary freedom. Ghana is ranked 9th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score has risen above the world average.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Everyone except nationals of Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States) countries needs a visa to enter the country, which until recently could only be obtained before arriving in Ghana. Now, however, nationals of most countries can receive a tourist visa on arrival at the Kotaka airport in Accra for US$100, though it’s not a convenient option if you’re arriving late at night. Visas allow a stay of 60 days and can be single or multiple entry.
You can get visas in many countries in West Africa or elsewhere. Visa applications usually take three days to process, and four photos are required. You often also need an onward ticket. In the UK, single-/multiple-entry visas cost UK£30/40. In the USA, they cost US$50/80.
If necessary, visas can be extended at the Immigration Office (021-221667 ext 215) in Accra near the Sankara interchange. Applications are accepted between 8.30am and noon Monday to Friday. You need two photos, a letter stating why you need an extension and an onward ticket out of Ghana. Your passport is retained for the two weeks it takes to process the application.
Visas for onward travel
Visas for the following countries are available from embassies in Accra:
Benin Visas cost US$25/50 for one-/three-month multiple entry and are issued within 48 hours.
Burkina Faso Visas cost US$40 (not payable in cedis) for three months and are issued within 24 hours; three photos required.
Côte d’Ivoire Month-long visas costs US$4 (payable in cedis) for Australians and Americans or US$10 for British nationals; issued in 48 hours; need two photos.
Togo Visas cost US$20 cash (payable in dollars only) for multiple entry and are issued the same day if you apply in the morning; three photos required.

Business Etiquette

Meeting and Greeting

Handshakes are the most common means of greeting.

It’s generally common to wait for a woman to extend her hand first.

Take time to enquire about people’s health, family and jobs. To rush a greeting is extremely rude.

Maintain eye contact during the greeting.

Titles are important. Use the honorific title plus any academic or professional title and the surname.

Wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis. The younger generation will tend to do so rapidly.

Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.

Present and receive business cards with two hands or the right hand, never with the left.

Communication Style

Ghanaians are more indirect communicators. This means they take care not to relay information in any way that could cause issues, whether that be giving someone bad news, turning down an invitation, refusing a request or any other such matter. Ghanaians always want to protect their own and others’ face as well as maintain harmonious relationships. 
As a result they tend to use proverbs, wise sayings, analogies readily. This allows ideas or messages to be convened in a manner that does not seem so blatant. In fact people who are viewed as wise frequently speak in proverbs. 
Silence is a common means of communication. If someone is uncomfortable with a question or do not think the asker will appreciate response, they will say nothing rather than make the other person uncomfortable. 

Business Meetings

Initial meetings are really all about finding out about one another and if a personality fit allows for future, more business specific meetings. One should therefore expect to spend quite a good deal of time in relationship and rapport building. Do not be surprised is business is not really discussed much at all. 

First meetings may also tend to be a little more stiff and formal although once a rapport has been built this will soon dissipate. It is important to maintain a polite and somewhat reserved demeanour. 
Hierarchy is respected so the most senior person is greeted first. He/she may be the spokesperson for the group or may deputise key stakeholders to speak. 
Ghanaians have a keen sense of humour and enjoy telling jokes. However until you have understood their sense of humour it is best to refrain from telling jokes yourself. If a Ghanaian teases you take it good-naturedly. For the most part, this shows they are becoming more relaxed with you. 

General Business Hours

Most stores are open between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday, with some from 9am to 2pm on Saturday. Very few stores are open on Sunday.
Banks are generally open daily from 8am to 3pm, and are closed on weekends. Most forex bureaus are