Expert Insight - 10 reasons to do business in Ghana
Ghana is generally considered as the well-behaved little brother of Nigeria by CFOs and investors from South Africa and across the globe. In this Expert Insight Eric Osei, business analyst and author of the recently published book Doing Business in Ghana, lists 10 reasons businesses should consider the friendly West African country.
By Eric Osei
- Political stability - Given that incidents such as civil wars, terrorist movements, sustained electoral and post electoral violence's are inimical to business activities, Ghana provides a high standard of peaceful environment for businesses since it remains one of the most stable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Compared to other big African countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and the Ivory Coast where violent incidents have gained international attention at various points in time in the last two decades, Ghana has sustained political stability over the same period, allowing the country to make gains in socio-economic activities such as business, health care, housing, etc.
- Democratic governance - The key explanation for understanding the political stability in Ghana is the ever increasing acceptance of democracy as the ideal system of governance across all institutions in Ghana. Both local and foreign business people are free to know, accept, challenge and even to suggest ways of improving the state's guidelines that regulate both public and private businesses using the appropriate channels without fear. The Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) continues to promote laws that attract and protect both local and foreign businesses.
Also read: 5 things CFOs should know about tax in West Africa
- Socio-economic prospects - Ghana has for some time now been considered as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. But, as predicted by the African Development Bank, Ghana's economy is presently experiencing an expected slow growth due to sharp currency depreciation, severe energy crisis, domestic and external debt burdens, macroeconomic imbalances, as well as rising inflation and interest rates in 2015. Nevertheless Ghana's economy, bolstered by increasing oil and gas production, private sector investment and improved public infrastructure, is expected to recover and to register growth of about 6% in 2016. Smart businesses are therefore expected to steadily thrive on the challenges of Ghana's economy in 2015 while anticipating for far more positive socio-economic prospects in 2016.
- Vibrant media - Beginning from the 1990s, the media in Ghana, considered one of the most free in Africa, increasingly plays a pivotal role for businesses. Ever-increasing numbers of vibrant television/radio stations and newspapers engage both local and international audiences in discussions that cover all aspects of the country. Considered as a major hub in West Africa for offshoring of globally renowned ICT companies, the internet has added to the media's huge impact on businesses in Ghana. It follows that the media in Ghana provides a good platform for businesses to thrive, especially through advertisement.
- Increasing skilled labour force - With education always receiving the largest chunk of government's annual budget, Ghana's educational institutions continue to expand in quantity and quality making the country attractive for tertiary students across West Africa. This implies that businesses in Ghana are able to recruit from a large pool of very bright students and graduates who go through Ghana's educational system.
- Competitive business atmosphere - Businesses usually flourish in an atmosphere where the expansions of business activities create positive competition among old and new businesses. Ghana, through the efforts of Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and other agencies, is characterized by accelerated growth in the number of private and public business enterprises making the country one of the most competitive places for businesses as well as a good investment destination for many foreign businesses in Africa.
- Decreasing bureaucracy - The drive to accelerate promotion of both local and foreign business activities is leading to less bureaucratic and more effective procedures for registration and operation of businesses. Even though business people still have to be cautious of corrupt and fraudulent acts of public officials and private individuals in Ghana, the decrease in bureaucratic hurdles ensure more transparent handling of business related issues by the officials responsible.
- Business-friendly environment - Given that the skilled labor force continues to increase rapidly in Ghana, unemployment is still a major issue in the country. Hence Ghanaian citizens really appreciate the importance of businesses. New business ventures mostly receive very friendly reception.
- Recreational opportunities - Ghana also boasts of several good relaxation spots for business owners and workers. There are a good number of touristic destinations that provide different recreational experiences across the ten regions of the country. Furthermore it is becoming easier to travel from Ghana to other African countries.
- Hospitality - One of the most distinctive virtues for which most Ghanaians want to be remembered is hospitality. Local people always try to create a positive impression on the mind of foreigners. It follows that foreign businesses are able to capitalize on the hospitality of Ghanaians in order to kick-start and to grow their businesses.