Find a business in Ghana
- Part I
- Part II
Ghana is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s economies with the best potential. It has a GNI per capita of US$1,550 (2012), but has seen rapid GDP growth of 8.6% per annum 2008-12. The economy is still dependent on the agricultural sector (30% of GDP, 2010), but increasingly the services sector is becoming more important (51% GDP, 2010). The discovery of offshore oil in 2007 and the start of production in 2010 means that Ghana can expect to see income revenue rise substantially over the next few years with foreign investment coming in alongside.
The agriculture sector accounts for 30% of GDP (2010) and crops such as: cocoa and cocoa products, rice, bananas, and timber products form the base of Ghana’s economy. Its main agriculture exports are cocoa and timber products.
Industry constitutes about 19% of GDP (2010). Major industries include mining, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement, and small commercial ship building. Gold remains central to the Ghanaian economy. Ghana’s diamond mining industry produces primarily industrial grade gems. AngloGold Ashanti Limited, a company with origins in Ghana, is a leading global gold producer with 21 operations on four continents.
Gold and cocoa production and individual remittances are major sources of foreign exchange. In 2007 significant oil deposits were discovered off the coast of south-western Ghana, the Jubilee Field. Oil production began in mid-December, 2010, and is expected to boost economic growth. In January 2011 Ghana was estimated to have 660 million barrels of proven oil reserves.
During the 1980s Ghana’s highly protected and subsidised industrial sector became a major burden on the economy. This practice, combined with a series of military coups and unsuccessful development strategies put the economy under severe strain. Added to these problems was the fact that the economy was heavily dependent on two commodities, gold and cocoa (both subject to global price volatility), for the majority of its foreign exchange earnings.
By 1990 a government-implemented austerity programme was beginning to have a positive effect on the economy, but this was set back by the collapse of the global cocoa price. In 1993 the country received substantial foreign aid to support an IMF-backed economic reform and recovery programme. This resulted in Ghana privatising state-owned enterprises, controlling public spending and diversifying its exports.
Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) programme in 2002, but was included in a G-8 debt relief programme decided upon at the Gleneagles Summit in July 2005.
Ghana is ranked 5th in the Sub-Saharan Africa region for ease of doing business in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2012’ study. It is also ranked as the best country in Sub-Saharan Africa to register property in. These rankings measure the conduciveness of a regulatory regime in starting and operating a business.
Ghana has a 71.5% adult literacy rate (2010). The official language is English but there are a further eight main national languages.