English is widely spoken in Ghana and is frequently used in formal business settings. Ghanaians do appreciate when visitors try to use basic words in Twi, such as Akwabaa (Welcome), Wo ho te sen? (How are you?) or Me da ase (Thank you).
It is advisable to obtain a visa prior to arrival, although some nationalities can apply for a visa at the point of entry. Citizens of ECOWAS, as well as Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago, are exempt from visa requirements, and citizens from African Union countries can receive entry visas upon arrival. US citizens can obtain a single-entry visa for $60 and a multiple-entry, three-month visa for $100. EU residents can secure single-entry visas for €75 and three-month, multiple-entry visas for €160.
Ghana has a tropical climate, so light clothing is recommended, especially during the hot and humid months from November to March. Formal business wear is de rigueur in office environments. On Fridays many workplaces permit employees to wear more colourful, traditional outfits such as those made of kente.
Ghana has a reputation for friendliness and hospitality. Manners and etiquette are important, and correct honorifics and respectful greetings in business meetings are expected. Shaking hands is customary, and it is polite to spend a few moments engaged in casual conversation about family, health and travel. Using your left hand for gesturing, handling food or handshakes is considered inappropriate.
As with most West African countries, a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entrance. Other recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies and meningococcal meningitis. Malaria risk is low in cities, but visitors are nonetheless recommended to use mosquito repellents. Ghana’s urban areas have numerous private and public health facilities; quality private health care providers in Accra include Nyaho Medical Centre and Lister Hospital.
The national currency is the cedi, with one cedi equal to 100 pesewas. Notes come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. ATMs are easy to find in cities; however, some dispense a limited number of cedis – usually between GHS800 ($155) and GHS2000 ($387) – may not accept Visa or Mastercard, and may charge a withdrawal fee of GHS20 ($3.87). Foreign currencies can be exchanged at licensed exchange offices at ports of entry, but the best rates are at hotels. Notes must be in mint condition. It is wise to have enough cedis to cover various transactions.
The primary means of travel in Ghana is by road. Taxis abound in urban areas, but operate without meters. Fares are negotiable and generally cost GHS10 ($1.94) to GHS20 ($3.87). Expect to pay more from the airport, during rush hour and late at night. Drivers with private vehicles and air conditioning can also be easily hired for flat or hourly rates. Ride-hailing services including Uber, Bolt and Yango are common in Accra. Stop-and-go traffic and heavy congestion is the norm in the capital during rush hour, particularly near the airport and the Accra-Tema Motorway.
The country code is +233.
Landlines are rare, but mobile phones are extremely common. A prepaid SIM card can be purchased – after showing a valid passport – at the airport or at licensed shops from carriers such as MTN, AirtelTigo and Vodafone. Top-ups are widely available at convenience stores and street vendors. Surfline and Busy Internet also have 4G coverage for remote hotspots, and data-only 3G coverage is popular.
The average work week typically runs from Monday to Friday. The majority of businesses are open between 8.00am and 5.00pm.
Power supply is better than in many other West African countries, with power cuts greatly reduced throughout 2019. Nonetheless, businesses and homes often rely on generators, especially in the hot months. Ghana has a 220- to 240-V network.
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