Ghana has a deserved reputation for hospitality. Manners and etiquette are important, which means that using correct honorifics and respectful greetings in business meetings is expected. Shaking hands is customary, and it is polite to spend a few moments engaged in casual conversation about health, family and travel.
Ghana has a tropical climate, which is more humid along the coast and drier in the north. As a result, light clothing is recommended. Formal business wear is de rigueur in office environments. On Fridays, many workplaces permit employees to wear more colourful traditional outfits, such as wax prints.
Thanks to the country’s rich cultural diversity, there are more than 100 local languages spoken across Ghana, 11 of which are officially recognised by the government. The Akan language family is the most commonly used; however, English is perhaps the most widely spoken language in Ghana and is frequently used in formal business settings.
The national currency is the cedi, with one cedi equal to 100 pesewas. Cedi bills come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50. ATMs are easy to find in the major cities, while foreign currencies can be exchanged at licensed exchange offices in major entry points, including airports and land borders.
The primary means of travel in Ghana is by road, with few public transit options. Taxis abound in major urban areas, and their fares are negotiable but should generally cost GHS7-15 ($1.94-4.16), depending on the distance. Private vehicles and drivers can also be easily hired and are affordable.
“Tro-tros”, or informal shared buses, can also be used to travel both within and between cities. Routes are generally fixed, and can be found out by asking the driver. “Tro-tros” can be caught on the road.
Stop-and-go traffic and heavy congestion in Accra is common during rush hour, particularly along major corridors near the airport and to the port of Tema.
It is advisable to obtain a visa prior to arrival, although citizens of some countries are allowed to apply for a visa at the port of entry, with the appropriate documentation. 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.
As with most African countries, a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entrance into Ghana for all 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 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.
The country code is +233. Landlines are rare, but mobile phones are extremely common. A pre-paid SIM card can be purchased at the airport with proof of identity from one of the major GSM carriers, MTN, Tigo, Vodafone, Airtel or Glo. Top-ups are widely available from licensed mobile shops, convenience stores and street vendors. 3G coverage is common and data-only 4G LTE coverage is currently being rolled out. Connection quality varies, however.
Power provision is better than in many other West African countries, but blackouts are not uncommon. As a result, businesses and homes 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 available in urban areas.
Normal Business Hours
For workers in both the public and the private sectors, the average working week runs from Monday through Friday. The majority of businesses are open between 9am and 5pm.
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