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Official Name: Republic of Ghana

Internet Domain: .gh
International Dialing Code: +233
Time Zone: GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Table of Contents

Location and Size Comparative Economic Indicators
Government Credit and Collections
Legal System Risk Assessment
People Business Climate
Economy Business Protocol
Economic Indicators Other Sources of Information


Location and Size

Located on West Africa's Gulf of Guinea only a few degrees north of the Equator. About the size of the U.S. states of Illinois and Indiana combined.

Government

Constitutional democracy; 10 regions, 3 branches:

  • Executive – President and head of government President John Agyekum Kufuor; Council of State, a presidential appointed consultative body of 25 members.
  • Legislative -- unicameral 230-member Parliament popularly elected for 4-year terms.
  • Judicial -- independent Supreme Court justices nominated by president with approval of Parliament.

Legal System

Based on British common law and customary law; has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.

People

  • Population: 22,931,299 (2007 estimate)
  • Population growth rate: 1.972% (2007 estimate)
  • Languages: Official language is English; more than 50 other languages and dialects spoken
  • Literacy: 57.9%
  • Ethnic Makeup: Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census)
  • Religions: Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1% (2000 census)



Economy

After a decade of structural adjustment reforms, Ghana has established a significant record of economic growth, expanding export industries, a growing stock market and rapidly increasing private investment opportunities. Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Gold and cocoa production, and individual remittances, are major sources of foreign exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around agriculture, which accounts for about 35% of GDP and employs about 55% of the work force, mainly small landholders.

Ghana's stated goals are to accelerate economic growth, improve the quality of life for all Ghanaians, and reduce poverty through macroeconomic stability, higher private investment, broad-based social and rural development, as well as direct poverty-alleviation efforts. Key economic challenges include: overcoming infrastructure bottlenecks, especially in energy and water; poor management of natural resources; improving human resource capacity and development; establishing a business and investment climate that encourages and allows private sector-led growth, and privatizing remaining state-owned enterprises, several of which are significant budget liabilities.

Currency: Cedi (GHC)

  • GHC per USD: 22.8
  • GHC per EUR: 33.8

Leading Markets (2006): Netherlands 11.3%, UK 8.7%, US 6.7%, Spain 5.7%, Belgium 5.2%, France 4.4%

Leading Exports-commodities: gold, cocoa, timber, tuna, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, horticulture

Leading Suppliers (2006): Nigeria 16.7%, China 13%, UK 5.7%, Belgium 4.7%, US 4.7%, South Africa 4.1%, France 4.1%

Leading Imports-commodities: capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs

Top Industries: mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, small commercial ship building

Top Agricultural Products: cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas; timber

Economic Indicators

2004 2005 2006 2007(e) 2008(f)
GDP (USD billion) PPP 31.2
GDP per capita (USD) PPP 1,400.00
Economic growth(%) 5.6 5.9 6.0 6.0 6.5
Inflation (%) 12.6 15.1 10.9 10.3 10.0
Exports (USD billions) 2.8 2.8 3.7 4.0 4.6
Imports (USD billions) 4.3 5.3 6.5 7.7 8.7
Foreign debt (% of GDP) 72.7 59.2 22.3 23.6 25.3
Foreign currency reserves (in months of imports) 3.9 3.4 3.4 3.2 3.2
Exchange rates (GHC per USD) 8,915.2 9,074.1 9,445.2 9,608.0
Exchange rates (GHC per EUR) 11,088.3 11,297.2 11,869.5 13,175.0

(e) estimate (f) forecast

Comparative Economic Indicators - 2007 estimate

Ghana Cote
d'Ivoire
Benin Nigeria Senegal Burkina-
Faso
Population (millions) 22.9 18.0 8.1 135.0 12.5 14.3
Population growth (%) 2.0 2.0 2.7 2.4 2.6 3.0
GDP (USD billions) PPP 31.2 32.9 12.2 294.8 20.6 17.5
GDP per capita (USD) PPP 1,400.0 1,800.0 1,500.0 2,200.0 1,700.0 1,200.0
Economic growth: (%) 6.0 1.7 4.0 4.2 4.5 4.3
Inflation (%) 10.3 2.0 3.0 5.3 1.7 0.5
Unemployment rate (%)* 20.0 13.0 5.8 48.0 77.0
Exports (USD billions) 4.0 8.6 0.4 60.4 1.9 0.7
Imports (USD billions) 7.7 5.0 0.9 38.9 3.2 1.3
Foreign debt (% of GDP) 23.6 103.0 11.0 2.6 13.1 22.6
Currency Cedi
(GHC)
Africaine
Franc**
(XOF)
Africaine
Frank**
(XOF)
Naira
(NGN)
Africaine
Franc**
(XOF)
Africaine
Franc**
(XOF)
Exchange rates (per USD)
on 11/27/07
10,099.0 442.6 442.6 118.3 442.6 442.6
Exchange rates (per EUR)
on 11/2707
14,970.1 656.1 656.1 175.4 656.1 656.1

* Latest published (CIA World Factbook)
** Responsible authority is Central Bank of West African States

Credit and Collections

  • Collection Experience: Fair-Poor
  • Exchange Delays: 3 months
  • Preferred Credit Terms: Unconfirmed letter of credit
  • Minimum Credit Terms: Unconfirmed letter of credit

Dispute Resolution (information from the U.S. Department of State)

The courts are slow in disposing of cases and face challenges in enforcing decisions, due to resource constraints and institutional inefficiencies. There is a growing interest in alternative dispute resolution, especially as it applies to commercial cases. Arbitration decisions are enforceable provided they are registered in the courts.

Enforcement of foreign judgments in Ghana is based on the doctrine of reciprocity. On this basis, judgments from Brazil, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Senegal, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom are enforceable. Judgments from the United States are not currently enforceable in Ghana.

Risk Assessment

Coface Country Risk Rating: C -- A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.

Ducroire Delcredere Political Risk Rating: 3 – slightly less than moderate risk
Ducroire Delcredere Commercial Risk Rating: C – high risk

Business Climate

Ghana emerged from British rule in 1957, becoming sub-Saharan Africa’s first European colony to achieve independence. Since then Ghana has remained a relatively peaceful country in a region plagued by conflict and instability. A well-administered country by regional standards, Ghana is often seen as a model for political and economic reform in Africa.


Transparency of Regulatory System: The Government of Ghana has shown great commitment to attracting foreign investments by improving the regulatory environment. Still, commercial regulations are extensive, and labor market laws are especially inflexible. Administrative procedures related to obtaining various licenses and permits are time-consuming and costly although comparable to the regional average.

According to Transparency International’s 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Ghana ranks 69th out of 180 countries in terms of perceived corruption and 8th in Africa. Ghana’s CPI score of 3.7 indicates that corruption is perceived as a serious challenge.

Protection of Intellectual Property: Protection of intellectual property is an evolving area
of law in Ghana. In recent years, progress has been made to afford protection under both local and international law. Ghana is a party to the Universal Copyright Convention and a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the English-speaking African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ESARIPO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Piracy is known to take place, but there is no reliable information on the scale of this activity. Holders of intellectual property rights have access to local courts for redress of grievances, although few trademark, patent, and copyright infringement cases have been filed in Ghana.

Conversion and Transfer Policies: Ghana operates a free-floating exchange rate policy regime. There are no restrictions on conversion and transfer of funds provided there is documentation proving how the funds were acquired. Ghana's local currency, the cedi, can be exchanged for dollars and major European currencies.

Corruption: Ghana holds relatively good positions on various indices of corruption and governance when compared to other countries in Africa. However, national surveys indicate that the public perception of corruption in Ghana remains at alarming levels. A Ghanaian survey in 2005 indicated that 92.5% of respondents felt that corruption was prevalent in Ghana. Another survey from 2000 revealed a high incidence of corruption in transactions between companies and public agencies. No U.S. firms have identified corruption as a primary obstacle to foreign direct investment. However, there is a growing perception in Ghana that government-related corruption is on the rise.

Political Violence: Ghana offers a relatively stable and predictable political environment for investors. Ghana has a solid democratic tradition, completing its fourth consecutive democratic election in 2004. There is no indication at present that the level of political risk in Ghana will change markedly over the near term.

Economic Freedom: According to the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom, Ghana is 56.7% free, making it the worlds 94th freest economy out of 157 countries and 11th freest of the 40 countries making up the sub-Saharan Africa region. Ghana scores relatively well in fiscal freedom, government size, and property rights. Ghana could make significant progress in areas such as investment freedom, financial freedom, labor freedom, and freedom from corruption.

For more detailed information on these topics, visit the 2007 Investment Climate Statement – Ghana, of the U.S. Department of State, and the Business Anti-Corruption Portal Ghana Country Report.

Business Customs and Protocol

Greeting: Handshaking using the right hand is the usual form of greeting.

Business Cards: It is customary to exchange business cards. As English is the official language, it is appropriate to have your business card only in English.

Business Attire: Business meetings with members of the government, civil service, banks or heads of large organizations or international bodies are fairly formal and it is recommended that men wear business suits. Lightweight suits are suitable for other business, social or ceremonial occasions which are generally less formal. Because of the climate lightweight suits are best. Cotton dresses are suitable for women. Generally, slacks are considered inappropriate for women.

Gifts: Use only the right hand for giving or accepting gifts as use of the left hand is considered offensive.

Meetings and Negotiations: Appointments are customary and visitors are expected to be punctual. Ghanaian businesspersons, however, may not always be on time for meetings, with poor communications and transportation infrastructures compounding the difficulties.

Acceptable Public Conduct: Do not blow your nose while eating. Never sniff any food or beverage offered you. It is considered rude to point, or to summon a person with the palm up. Wearing of any military apparel, such as camouflage jackets or trousers, or any clothing or items, which may appear military in nature, is strictly prohibited.

Sources for further information on doing business in Ghana

Doing Business in Ghana: A Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies, U.S. Commercial Service, 2008 (PDF)

Doing Business in Ghana, MGI – worldwide association of independent auditing, accounting and consulting firms, 2007 (PDF)

Embassy of Ghana, Washington, DC

Government of Ghana -- Official Website

U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Ghana

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This information is provided by ABC-Amega Inc. Providing international receivable management and debt collection services for exporters to more than 200 countries including Ghana. For further information, contact info@abc-amega.com.

This report represents a compilation of information from a wide variety of reputable sources.

Economic Indicators: Variety of sources including the CIA World Factbook, COFACE Country Ratings, Economist Country Briefings, Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) Country Profiles.

Risk Assessment information: Provided with permission by Coface Country Rating. Also Belgian credit insurance company Ducroire Delcredere

Information on credit terms and the probability of prompt payment are provided, with permission, from Overseas Press and Consultants (OP&C) as published in IOMA's Report on "Managing Credit, Receivables & Collections," December 2007.

Historical Exchange Rates: OANDA.com The Currency Site.