Agriculture formerly contributed 40% of Ghana’s GDP, but has since fallen to 17% of Ghana’s GDP. Nonetheless, agriculture remains an important branch of Ghana’s economy. The country’s growing middle class continues to raise demand for safe, high quality foodstuffs, which provides opportunities for Singapore businesses.
Ghana’s major crops include bananas, cassava, cocoa, corn, peanuts, and rice. Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers, and it exported US$2.27 billion (S$3.06 billion) worth of cocoa beans in 2016.
Due to its location on the West African coast, Ghana’s agri-businesses have easy access to export markets in Europe. Ghana also has an international airport in Accra, and two major ports in Tema and Takoradi. This makes it cost-effective for agri-businesses to ship from Ghana, compared to many other parts of Africa.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) incentivises companies to set up production or processing enterprises in-country. Participating agri-businesses get a five-year tax holiday at the startup phase, custom duty exemptions for relevant machinery, and location-based tax rebates. If you are looking for a low tax business environment, Ghana’s agricultural sector offers many possibilities.
The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project also offers public-private partnerships, for infrastructure projects in designated areas. Other initiatives include the development of a land bank, and model lease agreements for investor seeking to acquire land in Ghana.
Ghana has 9.3 million internet users, and more mobile phones than people (approximately 139 telco subscriptions for every 100 persons)1. Demand for Information & Communication Technology (ICT) services is also growing in Ghana. As the country industralises, local companies are adopting digital solutions to manage office functions, as well as interact with customers.
The improved infrastructure for international broadband connectivity has grown in Ghana, causing a proliferation of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). As of 2016, there are 54 operational ISPs in the country.
Ghana’s government has identified ICT as a priority sector, and is a consistent investor. In 2014, Ghana launched an e-Transform programme, backed by US$97 million (S$131 million) from the World Bank. The programme aims to accelerate tech adoption among the population, as well as local businesses.
In 2018, the government launched an ICT innovation project at Accra Digital Centre. The project includes a Mobile Applications Laboratory and an Innovation Hub. These will serve as incubators for tech-based startups, as well as research and development in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Consumer demand is rising for instant messaging and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Skype and WhatsApp, along with rising use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Other services including mobile banking, and mobile online health services are also becoming more popular.
In the business sector, there is a limited pool of qualified graduates for in-house ICT functions. This has created a trend toward outsourcing tech talent. In addition to the widespread use of English in Ghana, Singapore tech companies have marked opportunities to fill these niches.
1: CIA World Factbook, July 2016
Ghana is one of the newest oil producing countries in Africa, with production commencing in 2010. Since the discovery of the Jubilee oil field in 2007, Ghana’s oil industry has seen three offshore projects implemented. The industry is expected to remain a top prospect, and a key driver of growth in the domestic economy.
Further oil and gas exploration are still ongoing. The Sankofa Gye-Nyame field is expected to provide enough gas to power Ghana’s thermal power plants for at least 15 years, while the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) field will continue to bolster oil production. The combined output of the Jubilee and TEN fields are expected to raise production to 180,000 barrels a day.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) notes that the country has inadequate human capacity for the exploitation, development, and production of oil and gas. This provides opportunities for Singaporean firms to partner with related Ghanaian companies.
Ghana’s ongoing oil and gas projects include:
These ongoing efforts present numerous investment opportunities, as well as room for business collaboration.
In 2014, Ghana is estimated to have received around US$2.1 billion (S$2.9 billion) in tourism revenue, with over 1,093,000 international tourists2. This is expected to grow to 4.3 million international tourist arrivals, by the year 2027.
Ghana is noted for its wildlife, coastal resort areas, and natural formations such as the Tagbo falls, which is the largest in Africa. Other attractions include the Bosumtwi meteorite crater, and Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world. Ghana is dense with nature reserves and national parks, which are major tourist destinations.
The Pan-African Historical Festival (PANAFEST), held every two years to celebrate unity across Africa and emancipation ideals, is also a tourism draw. The event is celebrated in the historical cities of Elmina and Cape Coast in Ghana, and takes place over eight to nine days.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) identifies several bankable projects in tourism, including the establishment of a Tourism Hospitality Institute, and the establishment of tourist rest stops. The Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project, to be developed across 241 acres of land stretching from the Christiansborg Castle in Osu to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, provides lucrative opportunities to tourism investors.
GIPC surveys also note that many tourists to Ghana return with their spending money unused. This is from the lack of shopping opportunities, despite the country’s wealth of products. Singaporeans who can apply their retail experience can find good opportunities here, and will find it easy to work with the predominantly English-speaking populace.
Financial services for tourists are also in short supply, and there is room for infrastructure that promotes acceptance of card payments. Take note of this if you run a fintech business, or an IT infrastructure business.
2: Ghana Tourism Authority