Expanding a Business in Ghana
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Why expand Your Business to Ghana?
During the recent World Cup, we watched the Ghanaian side leading the charge on behalf of Africa on the football field. In the business stakes, Ghana is also one of the continents front-runners, and a country that has much to offer UK businesses considering expanding their business abroad.
With Ghanas political system being stable and particularly welcoming to foreign investors, with a range of financial incentives in place, the country is ripe for investment. The Ghanaian people are known to be extremely warm and hospitable. Ghana has very low crime levels compared to other West African nations. In fact, its peace-loving people include Nobel Peace Prize winner and seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
As well as the obvious benefit of being based in a tropical paradise, Ghanas strategic central location means it is the perfect base for you to expand your business even further into the West Africa, providing access to a total market of around 250 million people.
Attractions for UK businesses expanding a business to Ghana
If you're expanding your business abroad, it is often necessary to find a point-person, or a team of people, based in the target country, who will act as your business representative/s. One of the attractions about Ghana, is that there is a dynamic private sector who are willing to collaborate with foreign partners. The Ghanaian Government also has a number of financial incentives in place for business people, and are encouraging of foreign investment because of the employment and economic boost it brings into the country.
If starting or expanding a business in Ghana, as in many countries, it is important to build a strong personal relationship with your business representatives abroad, as well as your customers. This cannot be done simply through telephone and email you will need to have a presence in the country, especially while you are building up your business. The good news is, there are excellent air and sea connections between the UK and Europe and Ghana, and flights are relatively inexpensive.
The economy has traditionally depended on exports of primary products, with about 60 per cent of the labour force employed in agriculture. Ghana is an untapped resource in terms of tourism, and is becoming more widely-known to holiday makers as a destination that combines raw and rich traditional African culture, dynamic cities, crumbling archaeological remnants of European occupation throughout the ages, and seascapes as splendid as youve seen in any postcard. Eco-tourism is also a growing industry. The Ghana government has special concessions available for businesses investing in tourism in Ghana.
Ghanas main exports are agricultural resources such as cocoa, timber, fish, fruits and vegetables manganese, (palm) oil, and rubber. Agriculture is the main focus of the domestic economy and provides work for more than half of the population.
It also exports aluminium, and is rich in gold and other valuable minerals. Their main export partners are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and the Ukraine.
Some areas you might like to invest in include:
- Resource-based activities in agri-business, agro-processing, i.e. fish, fruit, vegetable, wood products, minerals processing, - gold, diamond and salt, export manufacturing and tourism.
- Real estate development.
- General infrastructure: Agriculture and industrial estates, toll roads and highways, railways and ports, sea and air services.
- Development and operation of export processing zones.
Much of Ghanas business happens in its major cities being Accra the capital and Kumasi, the second largest city.
Although Ghana is rich in natural resources, and its economy moving ahead steadily through the growth of industries such as tourism, almost 30 per cent of the population still lives under the international poverty rate, which may present some challenges to you as a business person expanding abroad. What some of its citizens may lack materially, they make up for in terms of hard work, persistence and charm, and you are bound to find a workforce to help your business succeed, while you support the local economy and people at the same time.
Yellow fever is a problem in Ghana and it is common that show evidence of your vaccination against the virus when entering the country. The taking of malaria tablets is also advisable. (Visit your GP for up to date medical advice before visiting Ghana).
Exposure to the sandy beaches, sunsets, blue seas and palms have had the effect youd expect on the Ghanaian people. They are renowned for being a traditionally relaxed people, and their business dealings are also characterised by a laid-back demeanour, which is something UK business people may have to get used to when doing business in Ghana. For example, punctuality in Ghanaian business culture is not seen as a main priority. The concept of time in Ghana is looked at in a relaxed and flexible way. This could cause difficulties with someone who is used to a more western way of planning and organising.
Despite this, it is necessary to make appointments before doing business in Ghana. These should be scheduled in advance. Dont be late for a business meeting as this can be seen as rude however do not expect your Ghanaian business partner to be on time.
Here are some other tips for doing business in Ghana:
- Typical working hours are generally from 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch. Stores tend to be open on Saturday too.
- Hierarchy is an important concept in Ghanaian culture. Respect is shown to those with wealth, age, experience and position.
- When visiting Ghana, show respect to older people. Auntie and uncle are used by a younger person to refer to an older person in a respectful manner. Always ask your Ghanaian business partners for advice about how to refer to people so as to not cause offense. They will appreciate the interest you show in their culture.
- In Ghanaian business culture, decision-making power typically lies with the most senior person in the company. The most senior person is expected to make decisions but often group consensus must be achieved first.
- Ghanaians spend time getting to know their business partners so be sure to allow time for relationship building with your counterparts in Ghana. The first few meetings are often spent getting to know the counterparts and then business can be discussed.
- Silence is a common way of responding to a question that can't be answered without causing discomfort or causing a loss of face. Dont try to fill the silence and if something is sensitive, ask your counterpart in private.
Ghanaian business etiquette (dos and donts):
- Do develop an understanding of how religion and indigenous beliefs influence the Ghanaian working practices.
- Do take time to ask questions about the health and/or the family of your business partner. It is seen as rude to get down to business right away.
- Do address your Ghanaian counterpart with their academic title as it is used to show respect.
- Dont sit down before your older counterparts have sat down. You are expected to offer them a seat.
- Dont refuse an invitation for a dinner at someones home. Ghanaians love to have guests in their home and turning down an invitation is a sign of disrespect.
Organisations that can assist with Entering the Market
Do you need advice from an expert in your field, on the ground? Need help finding the best route to market for your product or service?
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