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Ghana Investment Guides

Profile of Ghana

Ghana is an independent republic with a democratic government which lies on the Gulf of Guinea and forms part of the West African Region. The capital city is Accra. Other major towns are Kumasi and Tamale and the ports of Cape Coast, Tema and Takoradi. Tema, the industrial city, which is adjunct to Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is on the Greenwich Meridian (zero line of longitude), making Ghana the closest landmark to the centre of the world.


The Economy

The Way Forward

As has been widely acknowledged, 1992 marked a watershed, not only in the political and constitutional history of our country, but also in its financial and economic performance since the inception of the ERP. There was a significant deterioration in economic and financial performance in 1992: large fiscal imbalance due to shortfalls in virtually all sources of revenue and a more than programmed expenditure; the overall balance of payments was in deficit as against a programmed surplus; and the overall growth in the economy slowed down from 5.3% to 3.9% in 1991.

The overall growth in the economy has been rising since 1991 to 5% in 1996, and down to 3.1% in 1997. In spite of the gains made, the Ghanaian economy still faces a number of structural and financial constraints. As a way forward efforts are being made to get the macro-economy back into balance. Restoration of sound macroeconomics environment has necessitated:

  1. a continuation of appropriately tight fiscal and monetary policies which would, inter alia, enable the maintenance of a broadly stable nominal exchange rate, and;
  2. further improvements in economic incentives through additional tax reforms and the maintenance of positive real interest rates.

Over the medium to long term, the strategy is to achieve a sufficiently rapid rate of economic growth to reduce poverty in the country. It is the government’s commitment to increase its primary surplus from 0.5% of GDP in 1996 to about 4% in 1998. Improvement in the fiscal performance is expected to ease pressure on money supply, growth, and inflation. Interest rates are also expected to fall, bringing considerable relief to real sector activities.

In the latter half of the 1990s Ghana embarked upon a programme of privatisation of state-owned enterprises and government divestiture of parastatals. This programme has continued despite a crisis in 1998 wrought by drought. The government has announced plans to privatise the energy sector, however there have been delays with the divestiture programme.

The economy had a mixed performance in 2002. The country enjoyed improved terms of trade with higher gold and cocoa prices and improvements were made in the areas of tax administration, financial sector reform, the move to full cost recovery for electricity and water and governance.

The mining industry in Ghana is the key sector in the economy with the principle minerals produced being gold and diamonds. Ghana has an active stock exchange.

One project which may expand Ghana's energy sources is the West African Gas Pipeline which would transport natural gas to Ghana, Togo and Benin from Nigeria. The oil industry is a key sub-sector. The Tema Refinery on the coast near Accra provides most of the petroleum products required by the local market. The Ghana National Petroleum Company is responsible for managing the production and supply of fuel products to the country. The downstream oil industry is also well-developed with 5 international oil companies present in the country.

In addition to its oil industry, Ghana has an active chemicals industry, as well as being one of the larger markets in the lubricants industry of the West African region.

Ghana exports timber and pineapples, the most important export crop being cocoa. The Ghana Cocoa Board manages the earnings from the export of cocoa beans. Although Ghana's economy is based mainly on subsistence agriculture, the industrial sector does play a part by producing goods locally. Emerging industrial sector products include cassava, fruits and cocoa by-products. In 2002 agriculture contributed 34.7% to GDP, industry 25% and services 40%. GDP in 2002 was US$6 billion. The inflation rate at the end of 2002 was 15%.

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. In recent years, Ghana has received a strong endorsement of economic health from the Consultative Group for Ghana, which comprises representatives of 11 developed countries and multilateral institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Ghana's major trading partners include neighbouring Nigeria, Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan and the United States. Ghana relies on grants from some of these countries to fund areas of development.

Although Ghana faced food shortages in the past, these were significantly reduced by the late 1990s. Ghana is rated 127th on Human Development Index (2003). The economy faces a number of challenges, the main focus being the country's high population growth (the population in 2002) was 20.1 million and high illiteracy rates. Literacy in 2002 was 63%.

Ghana has experienced a stable political climate and an average annual GDP grow tread of nearly 5 percent over the past ten years.

Ghana Investment Promotion Center

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) is a government agency, re-established under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 1994 (Act 478): To encourage, promote and facilitate investments in all sectors of the economy except mining and petroleum

We are the one-stop agency that facilitates and supports local and foreign investors in both the manufacturing and services sectors as they seek more value-creating operations, higher sustainable returns and new business opportunities.

Objectives & Functions

  • Initiating and supporting measures that will, enhance the investment climate in the country for both Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian companies.
  • Promoting investments in and outside Ghana through effective promotion.
  • Collecting, collating, analysing and disseminating information about investment opportunities and sources of investment capital, and advising on the availability, choice or suitability of partners in joint-venture projects;
  • Registering and keeping records of all enterprises to which this Act is applicable.
  • Identifying specific projects and inviting interested investors for participation in those projects initiating, organizing and participating in promotional activities such as exhibitions, conferences and seminars for the stimulation of investments.
  • Maintaining a liaison between investors and ministries, government departments and agencies, institutional lenders and other authorities concerned with investments
  • Providing and disseminating up-to-date information on incentives available to investors.
  • Assisting investors by providing support services including assistance with permits required for the establishment and operation of enterprises.
  • Evaluating the impact of the Centre on investments in the country and recommending appropriate changes where necessary.
  • Registering and keeping records of all technology-transfer agreements relating to investments under this Act.
  • Performing such other functions as are incidental to the attainment of the objectives of this Act.

Ghana Investment Promotion Centre
Post: P. O. Box M193, Accra-Ghana
Tel: +233 21 665 125-9/664276
Fax: +233 21 663 801/663655
Email: i...@gipcghana.com

Setting up Business in Ghana

Business Laws

An entrepreneur, irrespective of nationality, can set up a business enterprise in Ghana in accordance with the provisions of any of the following legal instruments:

  • The Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179)
  • The Partnership Act, 1962 (Act 152)
  • The Business Name Act, 1962 (Act 151).

It is advisable for persons interested in setting up business ventures in Ghana to seek professional advice, particularly on legal and fiscal issues, before making any decisions.

There is a range of specialist companies that can help businesses establish a local presence, from the international accountancy and legal firms to smaller consultants.

There different forms of structures when it comes to setting up business in Ghana. The decision on which kind to establish varies considerably and depends on the nature of the business and the scope of the investment envisaged.

Those considering investing in Ghana are strongly advised to contact the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and, if planning to re-export 70 percent of their products from Ghana, the Ghana Free Zones Board.

There are four categories if businesses which are wholly reserved for Ghanaians.
These are:

  1. The sale of anything whatsoever in a market, petty trading, hawking or selling from a kiosk at any place;
  2. Operation of a taxi service and car hire service. (A non-Ghanaian may undertake this service provided he has a minimum fleet of ten new vehicles);
  3. All aspects of pool betting business and lotteries, except football pools;
  4. Operation of beauty salons and barber shops
  5. Non-Ghanaians may invest and set up any business not related to the above.

Legal Entities For Businesses In Ghana

Businesses can operate as legal entities under the following categories:

Registration of Business Names

  • This requires relatively fewer formalities. Business owners under this type of entity have unlimited personal liability for debts arising out of their business activity. Owners are also taxed as individuals although they are allowed to offset business expenses against profits for tax purposes.
  • Procedure for registering an enterprise Companies that can help you register an enterprise

Incorporated Private Partnerships

  • Two (2) or more individuals who carry out business jointly for the purposes of making profit may register a Private Partnership so long as the number of persons does not exceed twenty (20) or include a body corporate.
  • In Ghana every partner in the firm is jointly and severally liable the firm for all the debts and obligations of the partnership while he or she remains a partner.
  • Profits of partnerships are normally shared in accordance with a partnership agreement.
  • Partners in a partnership are taxed as individuals after the distribution of partnership income.
  • Non Ghanaians can enter into partnerships with Ghanaians
  • Procedure for registering a Partnership Companies that can help you register a Partnership

Companies

One or more persons, be they individuals, legal entities, resident or non-resident may set up companies in Ghana.

Companies so established may be public or private, and of the following forms:

  • Company limited by shares, where each member owns part of the company according to what percentage of shares he or she has. Members benefit from the company through sharing in the profits declared as dividends or sales of shares according to the company’s regulations. In companies limited by shares, the liability of its members is limited to the amount of any unpaid shares they hold.
  • Company limited by Guarantee. This kind of company must not have the objective of carrying on business for profit purposes, is not registered with shares and has the liability of its members limited to such amounts as the members agree to contribute in the event of it ceasing to operate
  • Unlimited Company, a company registered with shares with there being no limit on the liability of its members.
  • Procedure for registering Companies Companies that can help you register a Company

External Companies

  • External Companies are legal business entity formed outside Ghana but which has established a formal presence in Ghana in the form of a branch, registered office, factory etc ; but does not include and agency unless the agent is authorised to negotiate and conclude contracts on behalf of the foreign company.
  • Procedure for registering an external company Companies that can help you register an external company

Joint Ventures

  • Investors may enter into Joint Ventures with Ghanaians provided the minimum equity capital requirements as detailed by the Ghana Investment Promotions Centre are met.
  • Procedure for registering a joint venture Companies that can help you register a joint venture

A foreign investor may team up with a Ghanaian entrepreneur or company for a joint venture, usually in the form of a partnership or a limited company. However, under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 1994 (Act 478), a minimum equity capital of US$10,000 is required from any foreign investor who intends to enter into a joint venture partnership with a Ghanaian in any area of economic activity, except trading.

Doing business from the USA, U.S. Commercial Service in Accra Ghana

  • The U.S. Commercial Service in Accra Ghana is the organization to contact if you are a U.S. business, interested in exporting your goods and services to Ghana.
  • Our primary goal is to promote the export of goods and services from the United States, particularly by small and medium-sized businesses, and on the protection of United States commercial interest in Ghana. Our core mission is therefore to provide timely, relevant, customized solutions to assist U.S. firms enter into the Ghanaian market. These include the identification of trade opportunities and finding local trading partners. It is also the organization to contact if you are a Ghanaian company looking for qualified manufacturers or suppliers of U.S goods and services.

UK Trade & Investment

UK Trade & Investment is the Government organisation that helps UK-based companies succeed in an increasingly global economy. Its range of expert services are tailored to the needs of individual businesses to maximise their international success. We provide companies with knowledge, advice and practical support.

To support its aim to "enhance the competitiveness of companies in the UK through overseas trade and investments; and attract a continuing high level of quality foreign direct investment", UK Trade & Investment offers services to:

  • UK businesses that want to grow their business internationally.
  • Overseas businesses that want to locate in the UK.

UK Trade & Investment is an international organisation with headquarters in London and Glasgow. Across its network UK Trade & Investment employs around 2,300 staff and advisers, including overseas in UK embassies, high commissions, consulates and trade offices, and in the nine English regions.

UK Trade & Investment brings together the work of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. It draws staff and associated administration funding from both parent departments, but has its own stream of programme funding, for which the Chief Executive is directly responsible as accounting officer.

What are the opportunities in Ghana?

Despite its current economic difficulties, Ghana remains a prosperous market for exporters. Ghanaians are keen on doing business with UK companies, whose goods are associated with quality. UK standards and procedures are still widely applicable in Ghana.
Many Ghanaian companies are looking for overseas partners. Ghana’s government has highlighted opportunities for exporters in these sectors:

  • Agriculture and agro-processing
  • Fish processing
  • Sports, Leisure and Infrastructure
  • There are also opportunities in transport infrastructure, power and telecommunications. UK expertise, particularly in consultancy and services is highly regarded.
  • Ghana is a good market for a broad range of consumer goods. There is also a market for reconditioned machinery, used clothing and used computers.

Ghana Visa Regulations

Entry Requirements

1. Travel Documents

All persons entering Ghana must be in possession of a valid passport or Travel Documents establishing the identity of the holder.
Travel Documents include Laisser-Passer and other travel documents issued by International Agencies recognised by the Government of Ghana.
These are:

  1. ECOWAS
  2. United Nations and its specialized agencies
  3. The World Bank
  4. African Development Bank, etc.

Where there is doubt, it should be cleared with the Ghana Immigration Service headquarters or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Accra.

2. Entry Visas

All foreigners entering Ghana, unless covered by para 3(1) require Entry Visas. Entry Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Ghana and may be obtained from a Ghana Embassy, High Commission or Consulate abroad.

Where Ghana has no Consular or Diplomatic representation, an application for Entry Visa may be made to the nearest Diplomatic Mission or Consulate authorised by the Government of Ghana to act on its behalf.

Ghana Entry Visa may be issued on arrival if the Director of Immigration has prior notification from travellers or their sponsors.
Applications must be made to:

Director Of Immigration
Ghana Immigration Service
Private Mail Bag
Ministries Post Office-Accra
Tel: 00233-21-221667 / 225321 / 224445
Fax: 00233-21-226996
GHANA IMMIGRATION SERVICE ONLINE

3. Exemptions

The following categories are exempted from obtaining entry visas to Ghana

a. Citizens Of Ecowas Countries
Nigeria
Benin
Mauritania
Niger
Gambia
Senegal
Guinea
Sierra Leone
Guinea Bissau
Togo
Cote D'ivoire
Burkina Faso
Liberia
Cape Verde
Mali

b. Nationals of Kenya, Malaysia And Singapore

Holders Of German And Cuban Diplomatic/Service Passports

c. Persons in direct airside transit.

4. Referals (for British Diplomatic Missions and Consulates)

  • Entry Visas may be issued in accordance with the Visa Regime to the following categories of personswithout reference to Accra.
  • Members of Diplomatic and Foreign Consular officers "de carriere" travelling to or through Ghana on official business
  • Persons in transit in Ghana who wish to break their journey in Ghana for period notexceeding 48 hours provided they are in possession of visas and onward tickets to their destination beyond Ghana and are not stateless persons
  • Where Visas are issued without reference, details and two photographs of the persons to whom they have been issued must be forwarded to the Director of Immigration,
  • All applications for Visas except in category 4 (I) above must be cleared with the Director of Immigration.
  • Referred applications should be accompanied by two recent photographs of applicant and should be forwarded by mail with statement of action taken.Reply to referred cases will be sent by fax where applicable.Whenever application for visas are referred, a report of local security clearance and any other relevant information must be accompanied.
  • Visas may be obtained at the pointy of entry in Ghana by investors or tour operators. Prior approval for visa ‚ on ‚ arrival may be obtained from the Director of Immigration through fax or e-mail.

5. Refusal

Visa to the following category of persons should generally be refused.

  1. Prohibited Immigrants
  2. A person without visible means of support
  3. An undesirable person
  4. And mentally handicapped person
  5. On the advice of the health authorities

6. Immigration notice

  • Intending travellers must note that the possession of the appropriate documents does not confer a right of entry. Travellers may be refused entry into Ghana if they fall within the category of prohibited Immigrant and if they do not satisfy Immigration requirements at the point of entry.
  • The Government of Ghana will not be financially liable for their repatriation.

7. Immigration Regulations

Immigrant Quota:
Persons who enter Ghana ostensibly as visitors may not be permitted to take employment.
No person shall be permitted to accept employment or undertake an occupation for reward in Ghana unless such employment is within and authorised Immigrant quota (an Immigrant quota being the number of non-Ghanaians that a person or firm can employ).

An application for Immigrant Quota must be made to:

The Secretary
Immigrant Quota Committee
Ministry Of The Interior
P.O. Box M. 42
Accra

An approval for Immigrant Quota for a foreign employee must be obtained before he proceeds to Ghana.

8. Investors

Investors to Ghana must register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.
Application for the extension of visa or automatic quota must be accompanied by a supporting letter from the GIPC confirming the status of the Investor.

9 Mining

Investors into the Mining Sector in Ghana must register with the Minerals Commission as approved Mining Services Company. Application for the extension of visa or Immigrant Quota must be accompanied by a supporting letter from the Minerals Commission confirming their status.

10. Professionals

It is an offence for foreign doctors, dentists, lawyers, pharmacists and other professionals to practice their profession in Ghana unless they have registered their profession in accordance with the profession of the respective ordinances.
All professionals wishing to enter Ghana to practice one of the professions are required before visas are issued to provide particulars of their qualifications in order that their eligibility for registration may be determined.

11. Prohibited Immigrants

Any person falling within the following categories.

  1. There is a deportation order in force - Part II ACT 160/63
  2. A destitute or person with no visible means of support
  3. A person of unsound mind
  4. A person declared by the Minister, or by Executive Instrument to be a person whose entry into Ghana would not be conducive to public good.
  5. A person against whom there is an extradition crime in force within the meaning of the Extradition Act, Act 22/60.

12. Fees

Some amount of money is charged for Entry Visas.

Last Updated on Monday 17th January 2011

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