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Ghana: Market Profile

1. Overview

In the past two decades, Ghana has taken major strides toward democracy under a multi-party system, with its independent judiciary winning public trust. Ghana’s economic performance improved significantly in 2017 after a difficult 2016. The government has started implementing some of its promises, such as planting for food and for jobs, and free secondary education. Domestic revenue mobilization is a key priority for the government, and the World Bank supports these efforts through technical assistance to the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Source: World Bank, BMI Research

2. Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections

January 2017
Opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo was sworn in as president after beating incumbent John Mahama in the previous month's election.

October 2017
Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire set up a commission to implement an international ruling on a maritime border dispute involving oilfields.

Source: BBC country profile – Timeline, BMI Political Risk Analysis

3. Major Economic Indicators

Graph: Ghana real GDP and inflation
Graph: Ghana real GDP and inflation
Graph: Ghana GDP by sector (2016)
Graph: Ghana GDP by sector (2016)
Graph: Ghana unemployment rate
Graph: Ghana unemployment rate
Graph: Ghana current account balance
Graph: Ghana current account balance

f = forecast
Source: IMF, World Bank

4. External Trade

4.1 Merchandise Trade

Graph: Ghana merchandise trade
Graph: Ghana merchandise trade
Graph: Ghana major export commodities (2016)
Graph: Ghana major export commodities (2016)
Graph: Ghana major export markets (2016)
Graph: Ghana major export markets (2016)
Graph: Ghana major import commodities (2016)
Graph: Ghana major import commodities (2016)
Graph: Ghana major import markets (2016)
Graph: Ghana major import markets (2016)

Source: WTO, Trade Map, BMI Research

4.2 Trade in Services

Graph: Ghana trade in services
Graph: Ghana trade in services

Source: WTO

5. Trade Policies

  • Ghana has been a World Trade Organization (WTO) member since January 1995. Ghana issues its own standards for most products under the auspices of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA). The GSA has promulgated more than 500 Ghanaian standards and adopted more than 2,000 international standards for certification purposes. The Ghanaian Food and Drugs Authority is responsible for enforcing standards for food, drugs, cosmetics, and health items. Ghana notifies all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
  • Foreign firms engaged in trade with Ghana should expect significant tariffs which will raise the cost of their products. Importers are confronted with a variety of fees, delays and charges in addition to tariffs, which has contributed to the high inflation in the country. In most Ghanaian business sectors there are no laws requiring the retention of a local agent or distributor when exporting to Ghana. There has been a recent push for local content requirements in a number of industry sectors and legislation was passed in late 2013 to regulate local participation in the petroleum sector.

  • Ghana is a member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a customs union of 15 member states including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Nigeria, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. In general, ECOWAS adopts a five-band tariff regime, with the first four bands ranging from 0% to 20%, and the fifth subjecting some sensitive items to a 35% tariff.
  • Destination inspection companies (DICs) are licensed by the Ghanaian government, and manual inspection by the DICs accounts for the longest delays in import clearance. This presents supply chain delays and disruption, exposing businesses to increased market risk and costs associated with obsolete and damaged goods. Businesses in the food and drink sector are exposed to more supply chain and trade risks due to the fact that between May and October each year there is a temporary ban on the importation of fish, except on imports of canned fish, to protect local fishermen during their peak season.

    Certificates are required for imports of food, cosmetics, and agricultural and pharmaceutical goods. Permits are required for poultry and poultry product imports. At the time the permit is issued, a quantity limit is imposed.
  • In 2013, Ghana introduced regulations on the importation of textiles by limiting the entry points for imports. Only three checkpoints remain open for cotton imports, namely: Kotoka Airport and the ports of Tema and Takoradi. According to the World Bank, it takes 10 procedures and 72 days to establish a foreign-owned limited liability company that wants to engage in international trade in Ghana. Foreign investors must obtain a certificate of capital importation, which can take 14 days. The local authorised dealer must confirm the import of capital with the Bank of Ghana, which will then confirm the transaction to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) for investment registration purposes.
  • Importers are confronted by a variety of fees and charges in addition to tariffs which have contributed to the high inflation in the country. Ghana levies a 15% value-added tax (VAT) plus a 2.5% National Health Insurance levy on the duty-inclusive value of all imports as well as on locally produced goods, with a few exemptions. The average tariff in Ghana is 10%, which is relatively close to the average (9.6%) in the West Africa region. The highest tariff is around the 20% mark and applies to products mainly in the agricultural and textiles industries as well as mobile phones. In addition, Ghana imposes a 0.5% ECOWAS surcharge on all goods originating in non-ECOWAS countries and charges 0.4% of the free on board value of goods (including VAT) for the use of the automated clearing system, the Ghana Community Network.

    Under the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) Act, Ghana imposes a 0.5% duty on all non-petroleum products imported in commercial quantities, a 1% processing fee on all duty-free imports, and an inspection fee of 1% of the landed value of the goods. The local automotive sector enjoys some protection from cheap imports as a separate examination fee is applied to imported vehicles.
  • Since 2014, the harvesting and exportation of Rosewood timber is banned. The country also prohibits the exportation of scrap metal in order to support the operations of local steel manufacturing companies.

Source: WTO - Trade Policy Review, BMI Research

6. Trade Agreement

6.1 Multinational Trade Agreements

Active

  1. EU-West Africa Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): The EPA is a preferential trade agreement that seeks to offer Ghana and other West African states the opportunity to benefit and increase trade and exchange with the EU by agreeing to waive or reduce tariffs on goods. Per the agreement, Ghana is allowed to have 100% access to the EU market with its goods, except for rice and sugar, while EU countries have around 75% access to the Ghanaian market duty free and quota free. The large production capacity of firms in EU countries allows the EU to benefit considerably; however, local West African manufacturers struggle to compete with EU imports under the prevailing operating conditions. The Agreement was initiated on June 30, 2014 with 16 West African states. However, currently only 13 countries, including Ghana, have signed, leaving Nigeria, Gambia and Mauritania yet to join. There remain some concerns about imports from the EU pushing West African firms out of business and causing job losses, as the local market fails to compete in some sectors.

  2. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Ghana is a key member of ECOWAS which seeks to foster regional cooperation in several areas, including removal of barriers to the movement of peoples and trade, harmonisation of agricultural policies, improvements in infrastructure, and renewed commitment to democratic political processes and non-aggression against member states. However, conflicts, weak institutions and poor infrastructure have thwarted many of the group's goals and regional progress has been slow. Furthermore, the free movement of people and goods has been impeded by a lack of common language, varying customs rules and differing currencies. Trade between members has been below 10% of total regional trade volumes. Despite having a combined population of over 300 million, ECOWAS members tend to trade more with other countries than among themselves. Negotiations on a regional EPA with the EU for ECOWAS stalled in 2012 when some member countries expressed concern that the agreement would damage their weaker, but still labour-intensive, industries. Another challenge was that many ECOWAS countries are less developed countries, meaning they already benefit from the EU's Everything But Arms programme, thus providing little incentive to sign.

  3. AGOA: Ghana is also one of the beneficiaries of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) quota and duty free status. In addition, many US companies operate freely in the country which may provide numerous trade opportunities in the long run. This, however, does not involve total tariff free access.

Under Negotiation

  1. Ghana-Kenya FTA: Ghana and Kenya are in the process of negotiating a bilateral agreement that can enable the two nations to cooperate in key economic areas such as trade, energy and mineral exploitation as well as in agriculture and livestock development. The pact also has components on cooperation in education, health, tourism and culture; science and technology; security and military; as well as foreign affairs, legal and judicial matters. This will set the foundation for plans to foster stronger trade relations among African Union members as a whole.

  2. Ghana-South Africa: South Africa is one of Ghana's largest export markets in Africa. Ghana and South Africa are in the process of negotiating a bilateral agreement that can enable the two nations to cooperate in key economic areas

Source: WTO Regional Trade Agreements database, BMI Research

7. Investment Policy

7.1 Foreign Direct Investment

Graph: Ghana FDI stock
Graph: Ghana FDI stock
Graph: Ghana FDI flow
Graph: Ghana FDI flow

Source: UNCTAD

7.2 Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  1. Overall, the investment climate in Ghana is welcoming to foreign investment, especially relative to other countries in the West African sub-region. The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) co-ordinates and monitors all investment activities and assists domestic and foreign investors. Ghana's clearly regulated and open market is supported by a stable and democratic government and offers opportunities for investors in a variety of sectors. The country actively seeks foreign direct investment (FDI).

    In 1994, Ghana replaced the previous investment regulations, which were perceived as unfriendly to investors, with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act. The GIPC governs investment in all sectors of the economy (except minerals and mining, oil and gas, and the Free Trade Zones) and delineates incentives and assurances that relate to taxation, transfer of capital, profits and dividends, and guarantees against expropriation. The Act also specifies sectors that are reserved for Ghanaians; however, these are relatively small sectors and the restrictions pose limited risks to mainstream businesses and investors. In 2011, the country approved the National Policy on Public Private Partnerships, which facilitates private sector involvement in infrastructure and public service delivery.

  2. Sectors where foreign investors are allowed limited market access include: telecommunications, banking, fishing, mining, petroleum, and real estate.

    Unlike FDI, foreign portfolio investments (FPI) are not subject to minimum capital requirements. The GIPC does, however, regulate all portfolio investment in stocks, bonds and other securities traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange. The GIPC Act also specifies areas of investment reserved for locals, which include small-scale trading, operation of taxi and car rental services with fleets of fewer than 25 vehicles, lotteries (excluding soccer pools), operation of beauty salons and barber shops, printing of recharge scratch cards for subscribers of telecommunication services, production of exercise books and stationery, retail of finished pharmaceutical products, and the production, supply, and retail of sachet water.

  3. There are no requirements on physical location of investments. However there are tax incentives to encourage investment outside of the Accra and Tema area. There are also no major import substitution restrictions. Investment incentives differ slightly depending upon the law under which an investor operates. For example, while all investors operating under the Free Zone Act are entitled to a ten-year corporate tax holiday, investors operating under the GIPC law are not automatically entitled to a tax holiday. Tax incentives vary depending upon the sector in which the investor is operating. Ghana operates several free trade zones (FTZs) and special economic zones (SEZs) which offer a range of incentives for investment. There are therefore a number of incentives which foreign investors may take advantage of, allowing greater foreign participation in the economy.

  4. Investors are not currently required to purchase from local sources or employ prescribed levels of local content, except in the oil and gas, mining and power sectors, which are all subject to substantial local content requirements. Similar legislation is being drafted for the downstream petroleum and power sectors, but there is no clear timeline. In the case of banks, the opening of branches requires approval from the central bank. While the only local employment requirement is that any investment in a trading enterprise must employ a minimum of 20 Ghanaians, the issuance of work permits for expatriate staff is tied to the size of the investment.

  5. There are a few areas where the government does impose performance requirements including the mining, oil and gas, insurance, and telecommunications sectors. The passage of more stringent local content regulations in the petroleum sector could serve as a signal of future efforts to legislate restrictions on how international capital can be used within Ghana. Generally, investors are not required to export a specified percentage of their output, except for Free Zone enterprises which, in accordance with the Free Zone Act, must export 70% of their products.

  6. Minimum capital requirements (sectoral) - Ghana restricts the issuance of mining licenses based on the size of the mining operation. Foreign investors are restricted from obtaining a small scale mining license for mining operations that equal an area less than 25 acres. Non-Ghanaians may only apply for industrial mineral rights if the proposed investment is USD10 million or more.

    The Minerals and Mining Act (2006) mandates compulsory local participation, whereby the government acquires 10% equity in ventures at no cost. In order to qualify for a license, a non-Ghanaian company must be registered in Ghana, either as a branch office or a subsidiary that is incorporated under the Ghana Companies Code or Incorporated Private Partnership Act. The Minerals and Mining Act provides for a stability agreement, which protects the holder of a mining lease for a period of 15 years from future changes in law that may impose a financial burden on the license holder. When investment exceeds USD500 million, lease holders can negotiate a development agreement which contains elements of a stability agreement and more favourable fiscal terms. Parliament passed a new Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act (Act 900) in December 2015. One significant provision of the new act requires the mining lease-holder to, “…pay royalty to the Republic at the rate and in the manner that may be prescribed.” The previous Act 703 capped the royalty rate at 6%. The Minerals Commission implements the law.

  7. Under the Income Tax law of 2015, all businesses can carry forward tax losses for at least three years. All investors operating under the Free Zone Act are entitled to a 10-year corporate tax holiday. Investors operating under the GIPC law are not automatically entitled to a tax holiday and are required to register with the relevant authority. Tax incentives vary depending upon the sector in which the investor is operating and are generally used to promote investment in the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, Ghana has ratified 'Double Taxation Agreements' with the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. These agreements prevent taxing investment income in two sovereign jurisdictions.

  8. The US has signed several investment-related agreements with Ghana: the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), OPIC Investment Incentive Agreement, and the Open Skies Agreement. Ghana has continued to meet eligibility requirements to participate in the benefits afforded by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and also separately qualifies for the apparel benefits under AGOA. Ghana has also signed and ratified Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) with the following countries: China; Denmark; Germany; Malaysia; the Netherlands; Switzerland; and the United Kingdom. Ghana has concluded the BIT negotiation process with 26 countries in total, 19 of which are awaiting Parliamentary ratification. The countries with concluded Bilateral Investment Treaties that have not yet been internally ratified are: Barbados; Benin; Botswana; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cote d’Ivoire; Cuba; Egypt; France; Guinea; Italy, Mauritania; Mauritius; Romania; Spain; Yugoslavia; Zambia; and Zimbabwe. Agreements with the United States, Pakistan, South Korea, North Korea, and Belgium are being discussed.

  9. GIPC requires foreign investors to satisfy a minimum capital requirement. The minimum capital required for foreign investors is USD200,000 if they do a joint venture with local partners or USD500,000 for enterprises that are wholly owned by foreign investors. Trading companies either entirely or partly-owned by foreigners require a minimum capital contribution of USD1 million and are required to employ at minimum 20 skilled locals.

  10. Specific Local Ownership Requirements affect sectors such as Oil and Gas, Mining, Financial Services, Telecommunications and Agriculture. Foreign ownership is permitted with the exception of some sectors designated as strategic in defence-related industries and farmland. Foreign firms are able to participate in government-financed and/or research and development programmes on a national treatment basis. However, according to the 1992 Constitution, freehold acquisition of land by foreign investors is no longer permitted. Foreigners are allowed to enter into long-term leases of up to 50 years and the lease may be bought, sold, or renewed for consecutive terms. Ghanaians are allowed to enter into a maximum of 99-year leases.

    An indigenous company is defined as one that is incorporated in Ghana with at least 51% Ghanaian equity ownership and has at least 80% of its senior leadership positions held by Ghanaians. The National Communications Authority (NCA) restricts licenses in the 800 MHz band of spectrum to entities registered to operate in Ghana. Foreign investors seeking to operate in Ghana must create a joint venture or consortium that includes a minimum of 35% indigenous Ghanaian ownership in order to obtain a license. Applicants without the minimum 35% Ghanaian ownership in place within 13 months from the effective date of the license risk severe penalties. In 2013, a portion of Ghana's 4G/LTE bandwidth was auctioned under restrictions that prevented foreign-invested enterprises from being directly involved.

  11. The oil and gas sector is subject to a variety of state ownership and local content requirements. The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act (2016, Act 919) mandates local participation. All entities seeking petroleum exploration licenses in Ghana must create a consortium in which the state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) holds a minimum 10% stake. The Petroleum Commission issues all licenses, but exploration licenses must be approved by Parliament. Furthermore, local content regulations specify in-country sourcing requirements with respect to the full range of goods, services, hiring, and training associated with petroleum operations. The regulations also require mandatory local equity participation for all suppliers and contractors. The Minister of Energy must approve all contracts, sub-contracts, and purchase orders above USD100,000. Non-compliance with these regulations may result in a criminal penalty, including imprisonment for up to five years. The Petroleum Commission applies registration fees and annual renewal fees on foreign oil and gas service providers, which, depending on a company’s annual revenues, range from USD70,000 to USD150,000, compared to fees of between USD5,000 and USD30,000 for local companies. The National Insurance Commission (NIC) imposes nationality requirements with respect to the board and senior management of locally-incorporated insurance and reinsurance companies. At least two board members must be Ghanaians, and either the Chairman of the board or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) must be Ghanaian. In situations where the CEO is not a Ghanaian, the NIC requires that the Chief Financial Officer be Ghanaian. Minimum initial capital investment in the insurance sector is around USD4 million.

  12. The Constitution sets out some exceptions and a clear procedure for the payment of compensation in allowable cases of expropriation or nationalisation. Additionally, Ghana's investment laws generally protect investors against expropriation and nationalisation. The Ghanaian Government may, however, expropriate property if it is required to protect national defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning, or to ensure the development or utilisation of property in a manner to promote public benefit. In such cases, the state must provide prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation to the property owner. The state guarantees due process by allowing access to the high court by any person who has an interest or right over the property.

Sources: WTO - Trade Policy Review, The International Trade Administration (ITA), U.S. Department of Commerce, BMI Research

7.3 Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives

Free Trade Zone/Incentive ProgrammeMain Incentives Available
There are free zones located across Greater Accra, Tema, Takoradi, Kotoka International Airport and surrounding areasForeign investors can hold 100% ownership in any Ghanaian free zone enterprise. In strategic sectors such as mining they can hold 90% and oil and gas up to 95%. At least 70% of annual production of goods and services of Free Zone Enterprises must be exported; consequently up to 30% of annual production of goods and services of a free zone enterprise are authorised for sale in the local market. Other key benefits include:

- Exemption from paying income tax on profits for the first 10 years and after this period pay up to 15% tax on proceeds from exported goods and 25% from domestic sales.

- A tax credit for employers that take on local graduates as a part of their workforce.

- There are no restrictions on the repatriation of dividends or profits, foreign loan servicing, payment of fees related to technology transfer agreements, and the remittance of proceeds from the sale of a portion of a free zone investment.

- Businesses can claim a foreign tax credit for taxes imposed on their income in countries that have a ratified tax treaty with Ghana.

- A five-year tax exemption for real estate companies, with some limitations.

- Industries can be licensed as single-factory zones - effectively, bonded warehouses.

- Free Zone investments are guaranteed against nationalisation and expropriation.

- Sales by a domestic enterprise to single-factory zones are considered to be exports that can benefit from export incentives.

- With the objective of making the investment process easier, the Ghana Free Zones Board has established a 'one-stop approval service' to assist in the completion of all licensing and formalities.

- Relief from double taxation for foreign investors and employees.

- No import licensing requirements.

- Manufacturing businesses in regional capitals (excluding Accra and Tema) are eligible to pay only 75% of the corporate tax rate.

- Manufacturing businesses outside of regional capitals are eligible to pay only 50% of the corporate tax rate.
Tax incentives by sectorRural banks and cattle ranching are exempt from income tax for ten years and pay 8% thereafter. Cocoa farmers are exempt from tax on income derived from cocoa. Income derived from tree crops, such as coffee, oil palm, shea nut, rubber and coconut, is subject to tax at a rate of 1% for 10 years following the first harvest. For a company's first five years of operations, income derived from livestock (other than cattle), fishing and cash crops, such as maize, rice, pineapple, cassava and yam, is subject to tax at a rate of 1%. Income of a company from an agro-processing business conducted wholly in Ghana is subject to tax at a rate of 1% for a period of five tax years. The period begins with the tax year in which the company begins commercial production. The income of a company whose principal activity is the processing of waste, including recycling of plastic and polythene material for agricultural or commercial purposes, is subject to tax at a rate of 1% for a period of seven tax years.
Tax incentives by locationTax rebates are also offered in the form of incentives based on location. Manufacturing enterprises, other than those operating in free zones or engaged in the export of non-traditional goods, located in regional capitals are entitled to a 25% income tax rebate, while manufacturing enterprises located outside regional capitals are entitled to a 50% tax rebate. A capital allowance in the form of accelerated depreciation is applicable in all sectors except banking, finance, commerce, insurance, mining, and petroleum.
Other incentivesThe Ghanaian tax system is replete with tax concessions that considerably reduce the effective tax rate. For example, rental income from commercial and residential property is exempt from tax for the first five years after construction. Similarly, income from a company selling or leasing out premises is income tax exempt for the first five years of operation. The income of a venture capital financing company is subject to tax at a rate of 1% for five years if the company satisfies the eligibility requirements for funding under the Venture Capital Trust Fund Act. The tax-incentive period begins with the tax year in which the company satisfies the eligibility requirements.

Source: Government Sources, BMI Research

8. Taxation – 2018

  • Value added tax: 15%
  • Corporate income tax: 25%

Source: PwC Tax Booklet

8.1 Important Updates to Taxation Information

  • The government charges a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) plus a 2.5% Health Insurance Levy on most imports, all consumer purchases, services, accommodation in hotels and guest houses, food in restaurants, hotels and snack bars, as well as advertising, betting and entertainment. An 8% withholding tax is imposed on dividends paid to residents and non-residents without a permanent establishment in Ghana. This is a final tax.

  • For petroleum extracting companies, the tax rate is 35%. The rate is consistent with the rate provided in the petroleum agreements that have been signed with the government of Ghana. After a company has recovered all outlays from an oil field plus a specified rate of return after deduction of tax, royalties and an inflation adjustment, the government may negotiate for an additional share of the crude oil profits. Mining companies are subject to corporate income tax at a rate of 35%. A holder of a mining lease, restricted mining lease or small-scale mining license must pay a royalty with respect to minerals obtained from its mining operations in Ghana. The royalty is calculated at a rate of 5% of the monthly revenue earned from minerals obtained by the holder.

8.2 Business Taxes

Type of TaxTax Rate and Base
Corporate Income Tax25% on operating profits
Corporate Income Tax on business involved in the minerals and petroleum industries35% on operating profits
Capital Gains Tax25%
Income derived by a financial institution from loan granted to participants in the commercial agricultural sector or a leasing company to fund acquisition of asset for lease20% on operating profits
Corporate Income Tax on businesses involved in the hotel industry22% on operating profits
Social security contributions13% on taxable earnings ( an additional 5.5% on gross salaries is paid jointly)
Value Added Tax15% on value of the products
National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL)2.5% imposed on all supplies of goods and services made in or imported into Ghana, except for supplies that are specifically exempt; services imported for the person's own consumption are subject to a reverse a NHIL charge
Dividends paid to resident and non-resident shareholders and Interest8% on account


9. Foreign Worker Requirements

9.1 Foreign Labour Restrictions

The Ghanaian government encourages investments in sectors that create employment, generate foreign exchange, and create forward and backward linkages with rural areas. However, labour regulations continue to restrict the employment of foreign nationals, particularly in low-skilled sectors. Work permits are required for all foreign nationals.

A foreign national may invest or start a business in Ghana by registering the company with the Registrar of Companies and then by applying to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, indicating his or her field of investments.

Foreign nationals may manage subsidiary companies in Ghana.

9.2 Visa Requirements

The government of Ghana issues the following permits and visas: Transit visas, Visitors' visas, Business visas, Work permits and Residence permits. Visitors’ visas valid for 60 days are issued on arrival to visitors who have acquired entry permits or visas (either single- or multiple-entry). Visitors’ visas may be extended up to six months by submitting an application to the Immigration Service at Accra or to regional headquarters. To obtain an entry visa, individuals must prove that they can sustain themselves financially while in Ghana, except foreign nationals who own assets in Ghana. Ghana requires visitors to obtain entry visas, except visitors from countries that have visa abolition treaties with Ghana. Nationals of British Commonwealth countries in Africa, notably Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, nationals of the 16 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and nationals of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand do not need entry visas.

9.3 Work Permits

Work permits must be renewed annually. However, long-term (two or more years) work permits are issued if the applicant has worked consistently in Ghana for at least three years. Work permits are generally granted by the Ministry of the Interior to expatriate employees or to individuals who have already been issued residence permits to enable them to take up specified employment for remuneration. Work permits may also be granted to foreign nationals engaged on a short-term basis for certain specific services and, in these cases, are not counted against a company’s immigrant quota. It is an offense for a foreign national to change employers after he or she receives a work permit. If it is necessary to change employers, the Immigration Service should be notified within one week after the applicant knows he or she is changing jobs.

9.4 Drivers Permits

In general, it is illegal for foreign nationals to drive in Ghana without a Ghana driver’s license. However, an international
driver’s license may be used for a brief period. Foreign nationals must take a road test to obtain a Ghana driver’s license.

Source: Ghana Ministry of the Interior, BMI Research

10. Risks

10.1 Sovereign Credit Ratings

 Rating (Outlook)Rating Date
Moody's
B3 (stable)16/02/2018
Standard & Poor'sB- (positive)24/10/2014
FitchB (stable)15/09/2017

Source: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings

10.2 Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators


World Ranking
201620172018
Ease of Doing Business Index
111/189120/190108/190
Ease of Paying Taxes Index
106/189109/190116/190
Logistics Performance Index
88/160N/AN/A
Corruption Perception Index
70/17681/180N/A
IMD World CompetitivenessN/AN/AN/A

Source: World Bank, IMD, Transparency International

10.3 BMI Risk Indices


World ranking
201620172018
Economic Risk Index Rank120/202
Short-Term Economic Risk Score
46.749.454
Long-Term Economic Risk Score48.947.248.6
Political Risk Index Rank50/202
Short-Term Political Risk Score72.171.771.7
Long-Term Political Risk Score68.673.573.5
Operational Risk Index Rank114/201
Operational Risk Index Score45.947.546.1

Source: BMI Research

10.4 BMI Risk Summary

ECONOMIC RISK
Ghana is seeing major changes to its current account, which will see a shrinking of the deficit due to its strong growth in oil exports and other commodities, such as gold and cocoa. While the economy has some structural weaknesses, the new oil sector - with associated export and fiscal revenues - should reduce the risks of macroeconomic instability and provide a substantial boost to growth over the long term.

OPERATIONAL RISK
Ghana's wealth of natural resources as well as its stable political and business environments, supported by limited security risks compared with neighbouring states, are key attractions for foreign investors. The government's support for trade and foreign direct investment is robust and businesses will face lower risks with regard to staffing their operations given the country's large, albeit predominantly low-skilled, labour pool. That said, weak access to competitive financing mechanisms, underscored by the high cost of capital and limited development of the financial sector, encumber consumer spending and the development of small-medium enterprises.

Source: BMI Research

Graph: Ghana short term political risk index
Graph: Ghana short term political risk index
Graph: Ghana long term political risk index
Graph: Ghana long term political risk index
Graph: Ghana short term economic risk index
Graph: Ghana short term economic risk index
Graph: Ghana long term economic risk index
Graph: Ghana long term economic risk index

10.5 BMI Operational Risk Index


Operational RiskLabour Market RiskTrade and Investment RiskLogistics Risk
Crime and Security Risk
Ghana Score46.150.151.034.448.9
West Africa Average33.936.736.230.632.0
West Africa Position (out of 16)1214
1
SSA Average34.638.335.332.532.3
SSA Position (out of 48)754
155
Global Average49.8
49.8
50.0
49.3
49.9
Global Position (out of 201)11410193152100

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: BMI Operational Risk Index

Graph: Ghana vs global and regional averages
Graph: Ghana vs global and regional averages
Country
Operational Risk Index
Labour Market Risk Index
Trade and Investment Risk IndexLogistics Risk IndexCrime and Secruity Risk Index
Cote d`Ivoire37.136.940.643.227.8
Nigeria35.855.433.030.324.6
Ghana46.150.151.034.448.9
Togo34.634.833.941.028.8
Mali28.533.432.828.119.7
Senegal36.829.438.333.546.0
Burkina Faso34.137.434.427.237.5
Benin36.944.134.926.741.8
Liberia32.033.337.925.531.2
Guinea-Bissau23.933.319.126.217.0
Guinea32.838.037.433.722.3
Niger26.228.432.424.919.2
Gambia36.537.133.133.542.2
Mauritania29.131.638.221.525.2
Cape Verde43.238.950.136.847.2
Sierra Leone28.325.332.223.332.3
Regional Averages33.936.736.230.632.0
Emerging Markets Averages46.848.047.545.846.1
Global Markets Averages49.8
49.850.049.349.9

Higher score = Lower risk
Source: BMI Operational Risk Index

11. Hong Kong Connection

11.1 Hong Kong’s Trade with Ghana

Graph: Merchandise imports, Poland
 

2017
Growth rate (%)
Number of Ghanaian residents visiting Hong Kong329
3.5
Number of Ghanaian residing in Hong KongN/AN/A

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hong Kong Immigration Department


2017
Growth rate (%)
Number of African residents visiting Hong Kong142,512-11.6
Number of Africans residing in Hong KongN/AN/A

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board, BMI Research

11.2 Commercial Presence in Hong Kong


2016
Growth rate (%)
Number of Ghanaian companies in Hong KongN/AN/A
- Regional headquarters
- Regional offices
- Local offices

11.3 Chamber of Commerce (or Related Organisations) in Hong Kong

Ghanaian Consulate in Hong Kong
Address: Room 610, Wing On House, 71 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong
Email: ghana@ghana.org.hk
Hours of Business: Monday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Consul General: Mr Jonas Wu Fan Ling
Tel: (852) 2530 3448
Fax: (852) 2521 1029

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