Useful tips for both business and leisure travellers

 

Etiquette

Ghana has a deserved reputation for hospitality. Manners and etiquette are very important, and correct honorifics and respectful greetings in business meetings are expected. Shaking hands is customary, starting with the person on the far right and making your way to people on your left. It is polite to spend a few moments engaged in casual conversation about family, health and travel.

Dress

Ghana has a tropical climate. As a result, light clothing is recommended, especially during several 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 wax prints that bear the logo of their firm.

Language

English is widely spoken in Ghana and is frequently used in formal business settings.

Currency

The national currency is the cedi, with one cedi equal to 100 pesewas. Cedi notes come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. ATMs are easy to find in major cities; however, some ATMs only dispense a limited number of cedis, usually between GHS800 ($206) and GHS2000 ($516). Foreign currencies should be exchanged at licenced exchange offices at ports of entry, but the best rates are available at major hotels. All notes must be in mint condition. It is wise to always have enough local currency on hand for various transactions.

Transport

The primary means of travel in Ghana is road, with few public transit options. Taxis abound in urban areas, and without meters, fares are negotiable but generally cost GHS10-20 ($2.60-5.20). 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 a flat or hourly rates. Since mid-2016 Uber has become common in Accra. Stop-and-go traffic and heavy congestion is common in the capital during rush hour, particularly near the airport, and to and from Tema Port.

Entry Visas

It is advisable to obtain a visa prior to arrival, although some nationals can 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 and soon citizens from African Union countries will be able to receive visas upon arrival. US citizens can obtain a single-entry visa for around $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.

Health

As with most African countries, a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entrance into Ghana. 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. Visitors should drink lots of bottled water to stay hydrated. Ghana has numerous private and public health facilities available in cities.

Communications

The country code is +233. Landlines are rare, but mobile phones are extremely common. A prepaid SIM card can be purchased at the airport from one of the major GSM carriers MTN, Tigo, Airtel and Vodafone. Top-ups are widely available from licenced mobile shops, convenience stores and street vendors. Surfline and Busy Internet also have 4G coverage for remote hotspot internet coverage, and 3G coverage is common and data-only.

Electricity

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, especially in the hot months. Ghana has a 220-240-V network. Square three-pin UK plugs are standard. Adaptors are available in cities.

Business Hours

For workers in both the public and private sectors, the average working week runs from Monday to Friday. The majority of businesses are open between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

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