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Ghana, a West African country South of Sahara, has been of huge interest to the international community in terms of business opportunities.  Current population is about 28 million, with the young (under 25) forming a majority of 57% of the total population. About 70% of businesses community in the country are in the informal sector; largely micro, small and medium enterprises.  As a lower middle income Country, Ghana throws out business opportunities which are generated from what is required to grow and develop the economy.

A glimpse of Part of The Airport City Business District. Credit: www.director.co.uk

Over the past 10 to 15 years, a number of multinational corporations have settled camp in Ghana, and some are still coming in.   This is contrary to the case about 20 years ago when only few multinationals or the business world gave Ghana and even Africa any chance at all. 

The Economists in the year 2000 declared Africa …’HOPELESS’, in 2011, the Economist reviewed the assessment to ‘RISING’ and in March 2013 they called Africa as ‘ASPIRING’.  Multinationals in Retail, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Financial services Real Estate among others, have pitched camp and currently operating brisk businesses in the country. Auto Industry giants such as Volkswagon, Toyota, Suzuki and CFAO have also recently revealed plans to establish manufacturing or assembling plants in Ghana.

The West Hills Mall located at the West of Accra

Retail sector has seen a massive revamp; Ghana currently boasts of 7 state-of-the-arts, world class shopping malls, five of which are sited in different locations in the capital, Accra. The malls have become destinations for multinational retailers such as Bata, Payless, Shoprite and Game superstore to name a few.  Hospitality industry is also booming and Ghana is now home to international hotels such as Marriots and Holiday Inn as well as International Food brands such as KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut. Talking about Financial Services Industry, International insurance brands like Prudential, Allianz, and Old mutual have established branches in Ghana over the last few years.

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What might have contributed to the continuously improving assessment of the international business community in Africa as a place to do business?  Research has shown that, Africa’s population is rising fast and by 2030, 60% of Africa’s population would be a working population and by 2040 have a larger working group than in India and China, [Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Winning in Africa]. The surge in population alone is seen as opportunity for business.

An agent handling mobile money transaction

There is also an impressive growth in African middle class consumers, which provides a great market for businesses.  Current penetration of technology has made the Ghanaian turf rife for Business.  Mobile phone penetration with smart phones has moved at a cracking speed and currently stands at least at 113% penetration. This implies every person in Ghana owns mobile phones, with some owning more than one.  Internet speed is known to be one of the fastest in Africa with 4G services operated by major telecommunication companies.  Internet penetration jumped from 5% in 2011 to over 33% in 2017.  Innovations in digital payment systems are the craze of the day currently, and payment for goods and services is getting better, easier and more secured via innovative fin-tech products.

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The Jubilee Oil Fields

Ghana commenced oil production in commercial quantities in 2010. According to Research by Ecobank, with a boost in oil output, the country may eventually become the fourth largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020. This is based on existing fields and planned field development in the top ten oil producing countries in the region. A recent projection by the current Government has also suggested that overall crude oil production is expected to increase from 196,089 barrels per day in 2019 to 420,020 barrels per day in 2023. Government officials have further explained that Ghana has re-asserted herself strongly as a key destination for petrochemical industry players. Statutory regulation which requires more than 50% of local Content participation in the oil industry has further expanded opportunities for local businesses in the industry.

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The Ghanaian economy has seen steady improvement. Having recently completed an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, officials of the fund had this to say about the Ghanaian economy. “The authorities have achieved significant macroeconomic gains over the course of the ECF-supported program, with rising growth, single-digit inflation, fiscal consolidation, and banking sector clean-up. Continued macroeconomic adjustment should underpin these improvements, as the 2020 elections approach”.

Notwithstanding, our local currency has suffered record breaking depreciation from the onset of 2019, only easing down in the last few weeks. This trend is due to a number of factors including Ghana’s inexplicable huge appetite for everything foreign. Government has taken strides to correct this anomaly with interventions aimed at reducing importation of commodities such as rice and tomatoes and rather increasing our capacity to produce more commodities such as cowpeas, shea and soya for exports. A move which has further created agric-business opportunities along the agriculture value chain.

Recent shake-up in the banking sector eroded an already narrow confidence in the sector. It also left doubts in the minds of people, but as history has recorded the collapse of banking giants such as Lehman Brothers and Merril Lynch in the US economy with robust financial systems, we envisage the Ghanaian Financial sector to weather the storm, learn from its mistakes and churn out a more resilient and sound financial system in the future.

In an interaction with The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), a representative narrated business opportunities in Media, Technology, Education and Financial Services among others. The GIPC would normally provide advisory services on local regulation and requirements, as well as possible sectors for would be investors to consider.

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Ghana may be a demanding place to do business in terms of human capacity and infrastructure, but remains highly rewarding with returns that can blow your mind. Ghana and Africa as a whole is the last sizeable area of untapped growth in the global economy.

Author: Amma Adjeiwaa Antwi

Amma is a consultant with M-DOZ Consulting, experts in Organisational Development, Corporate Training and Financial Planning Services. Contact her on amma.antwi@ghanatalksbusiness.com or +233201196080