Investment climate in Ghana

Economy

Ghana’s economy, supported by the strong services sector performance, grew by 4.9% during the first quarter 2016 higher than 4.1% during the same period in 2015. However, overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2016 could be below the 3.9% growth in 2015 due to production problems in the oil sector. The inflation rate fell to 16.7% in July 2016 the lowest since March of 2015, reflecting the stable cedi and the maintenance of the tight monetary policy stance. The GDP growth rate is expected to reach around 7.5% by 2018, assuming that the fiscal consolidation program remains on track and technical problems in the oil and gas sector are resolved. Ghana issued its fifth Eurobond on September 9th for $750 million with a coupon rate of 9.25%. The bond which was more than five times oversubscribed with total orders of $4.5 billion has a weighted average tenor of five years.

Why invest in Ghana?

  • A stable and predictable political environment
  • No discrimination against foreign-owned businesses
  • A free-floating exchange rate regime and guarantees that investors can transfer profits out of Ghana
  • Investment laws that protect investors against expropriation and nationalization
  • Comparatively less prevalent incidence of corruption than in other countries in the region.

Political

Ghana governed under multi-party system for more than two decades ago has made major strides towards consolidating its democratic achievements. The judiciary has proven to be independent and has generally gained the trust of Ghanaians and investors. Ghana has both freedom of press and speech.  The elections of 2016 were peacefully held and Akufo-Addo and Dr. Mahumdu Bawumia were sworn-in as president and vice president on January 7, 2017.

Population

The population of Ghana was estimates at 27.9 million people in 2015 according to the latest population census. The population growth is estimated at 2.2%.

Urbanisation

It is estimated that about 54% of total population lived in urban areas in 2015 with urbanisation annual rate of change estimated at 3.4% for the period from 2010 to 2015.

Doing business in Ghana

The highlights of World Bank score of doing business in Ghana are summarised as follows;

Topics World Bank  2017 Rank World Bank 2016 Rank Change in Rank
Overall 108 111 3
Starting a Business 110 103 -7
Dealing with Construction Permits 117 112  

-5

Getting Electricity 120 122 2
Registering Property 77 76  

-1

Getting Credit 44 42  

-2

Protecting Minority Investors 87 85 -2
Paying Taxes 122 119 -3
Trading across Borders 154 167 13
Enforcing Contracts 114 111  

-3

Resolving Insolvency 155 158 3

Ghana’s wealth of resources, democratic political system and dynamic economy has helped it to improve its business environment.

Credit Rating

Standard & Poor’s credit rating for Ghana stands at B- with stable outlook. Moody’s credit rating for Ghana was last set at B3 with stable outlook. Fitch’s credit rating for Ghana was last reported at B with negative outlook.

Remittances

There are no restrictions on payments for goods and services being imported into Ghana. However, banks must submit reports of all payment transactions to the Bank of Ghana. Residents and non-residents are permitted to maintain Foreign Exchange Accounts with local banks. Importers are allowed to undertake imports through direct transfer through their foreign exchange accounts up to $50,000 without pre-submitting documentation.  Foreign exchange bureaus are in operation throughout Ghana.         

Arbitration

Ghana has a good track record for sound governance and a relatively reliable legal system result in a dispute resolution process that benefits investors. Ghana’s legal system is based on British common law and customary law. The courts are often slow in disposing of cases and at times face challenges in enforcing decisions, largely due to resource constraints and institutional inefficiencies. The interest in alternative dispute resolution is growing as a way of disposing of commercial disputes. Arbitration decisions are enforceable provided they are registered in the courts. In March 2005, the government established a commercial court with exclusive jurisdiction over all commercial matters. This Court also handles disputes involving commercial arbitration and the enforcement of awards, intellectual property rights, including patents, copyrights and trademarks, commercial fraud, applications under the Companies Code, tax matters, and insurance and re-insurance cases. Ghana also has a Financial and Economic Crimes Court a specialized division of the High Court that handles high profile corruption and economic crime cases. Enforcement of foreign judgments in Ghana is based on the doctrine of reciprocity.  The Commercial Conciliation Center of the American Chamber of Commerce (Ghana) provides arbitration services on trade and investment issues for disputes regarding contracts with arbitration clauses. Ghana is a member state to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention). Ghana is a signatory to the convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention).

Key development challenges

  • High domestic financing cost;
  • Delays in the resolving the energy problems related to state owned enterprises (SOEs) debt and technical problems in the oil sector;
  • Continued weak commodity prices and capital flows;
  • High unemployment levels.

Corruption index

Ghana ranked number 70 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Ghana dropped four percentage points and scored 43 points out of 100 in 2016 when compared to the score of 47 in 2015.

Security

The security in Ghana is reasonable good but visitors should take the necessary precautions about their personal security.

Unemployment and skilled labour

According to Ghana’s Labour Force Survey Report by the Ghana Statistical Service unemployment rate stood at 11.9 percent in 2015.  This is about twice the figure of 5.8% recorded in 2012/2013. Unemployment rate was highest among 15 to 24 year olds (25.9%).

Attitude to Foreign Direct Investment

It is a top priority for the Government of Ghana to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). The government has passed a number of laws to encourage foreign investment and to replace regulations perceived as unfriendly to investors. The 2013 Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act regulates investments in almost every sector, except minerals and mining, oil and gas, and the industries within Free Zones. Sector-specific laws further regulate banking, non-banking financial institutions, insurance, fishing, securities, telecommunications, energy, and real estate. In oil and gas these laws include specific local content requirements that could discourage international investment. GIPC regulates foreign investment in acquisitions, mergers, takeovers and new investments, as well as portfolio investment in stocks, bonds, and other securities traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Restrictions on Foreign investment

There are no significant limits on foreign investment nor are there differences in the treatment of foreign and national investors. However, in the petroleum sector, companies in Ghana must ensure that local content is a component of all activities in which they are engaged, from exploration through to development and decommissioning.  Foreign investors have also to comply with sector specific laws.

Intellectual Property (IP) Rights.

A lot of progress has been made in recent years to afford protection of intellectual property under both local and international law. Ghana is a party to the Universal Copyright Convention, the Berne Convention for the Prosecution of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PTC), the Singapore Trademark Law Treaty (STLT), and the Madrid Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks. Ghana is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the English-speaking African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2004, Ghana’s Parliament ratified the WIPO internet treaties, namely the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty. Since December 2003, Ghana’s Parliament has passed six bills designed to bring Ghana into compliance with WTO TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) requirements. The new laws are: Copyright, Trade Marks, Patents, Layout-Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits, Geographical Indications, and Industrial Designs. Except for the copyright law, implementing regulations necessary for fully effective promulgation has not been passed. The Government of Ghana launched its National Intellectual Property Policy and strategy in January 2016.

Natural Resources

The natural resources include gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower, petroleum, silver, salt and limestone.
Information about Investment climate in Ghana has been summarized to include the following;

Sources of information

http://www.worldbank.org

www.state.gov

www.afdb.org/

www.export.gov

www.statsghana.gov.gh/

www.cia.gov

http://www.ghc-ca.com/frm-e-trade.html

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