In business meetings in Ghana it is customary to exchange greetings and shake hands. As relationships and networking are important in the business community, it is common to open a meeting by engaging in casual conversation about health, family and travel. The host will generally indicate when the business discussions should commence.
Western business attire is common and expected of foreign business people. The same is true for Ghanaian business people, though on Fridays both Ghanaian men and women generally wear traditional West African prints and fabrics. Though the north of the country is drier, the climate is generally very warm, so light clothing is worn in social situations.
Over 100 local languages can be heard throughout Ghana, 11 of which are sponsored by the government. The Akan language family is the most commonly used; however, English is also widely spoken in Ghana and is frequently the main language in formal business environments.
Normal Business Hours
For both the public and the private sectors the average workweek runs from Monday through Friday. Most businesses are open between 9am to 5pm.
The national currency is the cedi. Bills come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50; each cedi is made up of 100 pesewas. ATMs are easy to locate in the major cities, while foreign currencies can be easily exchanged at licensed exchange offices in major entry points, including airports and land borders.
Citizens of ECOWAS, as well as Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, are exempt from visa requirements. US citizens can obtain a single-entry visa for $60 and a multiple-entry visa for $100, valid for three months. Residents of European countries can secure single-entry visas for €50 and three-month, multiple-entry visas for €100.
Tipping is appreciated but not expected in dayto-day situations such as restaurants or taxis. Tips are generally 5-10% of the value of the service provided.
With mass transit still in short supply, travel in the major cities is best done by car. Taxis are readily available on city streets. Taxi fares are negotiable but should generally be about GHS7-15 ($2.67-5.72), depending on the distance. Most business travellers prefer the convenience and reliability of a private car and driver, and these are inexpensive and easy to hire.
Longer trips for business travellers are best made by air, and flights are readily available following an increase in domestic routes in recent years. However, leisure travellers might also opt for the network of informal and shared buses known as “tro-tros”, which can be used for both intracity and intercity travel.
A yellow fever vaccination is mandatory to enter Ghana for both first-time and repeat visitors. Other recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies and meningococcal meningitis. Malaria risk is low in cities, but short-term visitors are recommended to take oral anti-malarial medication. If travelling to more rural areas, precautions should be taken. Visitors should drink bottled or sachet water.
Ghana has numerous private and public health facilities available in the main cities, although private clinics provide services more in line with Western norms.
For cities and rural areas connected to the main grid, power supply is irregular. As a result, businesses and homes in the main business districts and commercial centres rely on back-up generators. Ghana has a 220- to 240-V network. Square three-pin UK plugs are standard. For other plugs, adaptors are widely available in urban areas.
The country code is +233. Landlines are rare, even for businesses. Most Ghanaians and visitors use a mobile phone with one or more pre-paid SIM cards, which can be bought for about GHS1 ($0.38) from the major mobile carriers, MTN, Tigo, Vodafone, Airtel and Glo. Top-ups are widely available at licensed mobile shops, convenience stores and street corners, and data packages can be purchased for around GHS16 ($6.10) per GB. Connection quality varies, however.
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