LANGUAGE: English is widely spoken in the country and is the language for government and business affairs. However, knowledge of basic words in Twi – Meda wo ase (Thank you); Wo ho te sen? (How are you?) – or other local languages will be highly valued.
ETIQUETTE: Ghana has a relationship-oriented culture.
Guests can expect warmth and hospitality but should conform to matters of etiquette, correct honorifics and respectful interactions, especially in business interactions. Ghanaians also expect visitors to engage in small talk. The handshake (with the right hand) is strongly ingrained in local culture, but as elsewhere in the world, the practice has become less common during the Covid-19 pandemic. Receiving food, pointing or gesturing with the left hand is frowned upon. It is important to mention that despite many similarities, cultural codes vary across ethno-linguistic communities in Ghana. For example, some regions in the north are more conservative than the rest of the country.
HEALTH: It is recommended to verify the latest Covid-19-related requirements regarding vaccination and testing before travel. Visitors are also expected to be vaccinated against yellow fever. Among other recommended vaccines are those for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies, tetanus, diphtheria and polio, and meningococcal meningitis. Malaria risk is low in cities, but mosquito repellent is recommended nevertheless. Urban areas are well served by public and private health facilities, which include Nyaho Medical Centre, Medifem Hospital and Lister Hospital in Accra.
CURRENCY: The Ghanaian cedi converts to 100 pesewas and is issued in banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. The country’s transition away from a cash-based economy was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, but visitors are advised to always carry some cash. ATMs are easy to find in cities but may have a withdrawal limit or charge a fee. ATMs are more likely to accept Visa than Mastercard. Foreign currency exchange can be done at licensed exchange offices or in hotels.
BUSINESS HOURS: The average work week in Ghana runs from Monday to Friday, with Fridays quieter in predominantly Muslim areas. Private businesses are typically open from 8.00am to 5.00pm, while administrative buildings tend to close in the early afternoon.
TRANSPORT: Travel by road still dominates transport in Ghana. Finding a taxi in urban areas is easy and negotiating the fare before travel is advisable as most taxis do not run meters. An average fare would be around GH10 ($1.71) per km, with higher charges common for airport runs, late-night rides or rush-hour commutes. Ride-hailing services such as Uber, Bolt Yango and GETT are widespread in Accra, or visitors can hire private vehicles with drivers for daily or hourly rates. Guests can also request transport services at their hotel, if available. Visitors should be warned that heavy congestion during rush hour is common in Accra and other cities, especially around market centres, as well as near Kotoka International Airport.
ENTRY VISAS: Citizens of ECOWAS (with the exception of Mali as of early 2022) are exempt from visa requirements, as are a few other African countries (including Tanzania and Rwanda), some Caribbean nations and Singapore. In most other cases a visa must be obtained prior to arrival or upon arrival. As of February 2022 US citizens can pay $60 for a single-entry visa and $100 for a multiple-entry visa. A single-entry visa to Ghana will cost UK citizens £60 and a multiple-entry visa £100-200. EU residents can procure single-entry visas for around €100, while a multiple-entry, three-month visa costs approximately €140, with some variation.
COMMUNICATIONS: Ghana’s country dialling code is +233. Visitors are advised to purchase a prepaid SIM card at licensed shops in the airport through providers MTN, Vodafone and AirtelTigo by showing a passport. Topping up is easy, as a variety of shops and street vendors offer the service. Most providers of data coverage focus on 3G and 4G provision to big cities, but remote hotspots are available with certain companies.