Entrepreneurship in Ghana
Ghana is a developing country in Western Africa, and the entrepreneurial environment is vibrant and growing in comparison to its other West African counterparts. The economy of Ghana is supposed to be growing at a faster rate than China’s. The Ghanaian business structure is stable and the government promotes business and entrepreneurship. However, there is a high rate of inflation which was caused by previous governments devaluing the currency to promote exports at the expense of local consumption, currently inflation has been reduced to about 20 percent. The country is rich in cocoa, gold and diamonds and lumber.
Ghana’s population of about 20 million is concentrated along the coast and in the principal cities of Accra and Kumasi. Most Ghanaians descended from migrating tribes that probably came down the Volta River, one of Ghana’s most distinguishing geographic features, at the beginning of the 13th century. Ghana’s people have a long, rich cultural history to draw from, and their work is thick with tradition, which can be seen in the colorful kente cloth of the Ashanti or any of the stools, icons, beads or baskets you’ll find in the major markets.
Ghana became the first nation in the sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence after taking getting its independence from British colonial rule on 6 March, 1957. Ghana was called the “Gold Coast a name that aptly described the country’s wealth in gold and natural resources. Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa.
Ghana occupies the pinnacle spot in Pan-African history having lit the torch for African Emancipation and became home to the famous Pan-Africanist, W.E.B. Du Bois. She lies in the center of the West African coast, just above the Equator, along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Country covers an area of 238,533 square kilometers about the size of Britain. The climate is tropical or better described as hot and humid with about 550 kilometers of coastline of sandy beaches. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry; the southwest corner; and the north, hot and dry. There are two distinct rainy seasons in the south–May-June and August-September; in the north, the rainy seasons tend to merge. A dry, northeasterly wind, the Harmattan, blows in January and February. Annual rainfall in the coastal zone averages 83 centimeters (33 in.).
The main export commodities in Ghana include cocoa beans and products, copra, cut flowers, cut diamonds, food ingredients, fruit, gold, manganese, timber and tea and coffee, while the main imports include fuel, intermediate goods, machinery, petroleum products, tobaccos, chemical products, consumer goods and crude oil. Ghana is making significant progress on the economic front. The nation is controlling expenditures and monetary growth, maintaining a stable exchange rate, lowering inflation and interest rates, developing a trade policy framework, actively promoting investment, addressing structural deficiencies in the energy and infrastructure sectors, and strengthening good governance and transparency. However, cumbersome government requirements are serious obstacles to business development.
This former British colony once known as the Gold Coast set her focus on the gold, ivory, and slave trade in her earlier years creating the Ashanti Empire but today is widely viewed as one of Africa’s most stable democracies and is a major cocoa producer for the world.
The country has holds out a lot of attractions notably: rich mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, manganese, limestone, bauxite, iron ore as well as various clays and granite deposits. In 1999, Ghana produced 2,620,096 million ounces of gold and 684,033.4 carats of diamonds Ghana is the second largest country in Africa. Tema, the industrial city, which is adjunct to Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is on the Greenwich Meridian.
Ghana’s principal ethnic groups are the Akan (Twi and Fante speaking), the Guans, Ewes, Dagombas, Gas, Gonjas, Dagabas, Walas and Frafras. There are 56 Ghanaian dialects of which Akwapim Twi, Asante Twi, Fante, Dangbe, Ewe, Kasem, Gonja, Dagare, Ga, Dagbani and Nzema are the major languages. The official language of the country is English. French and Hausa are two major foreign languages spoken in the country.
The Ghana Business Code was introduced against the background of trade liberalization, globalization and challenges and opportunities associated with it. Corporate Ghana, by this initiative, appreciates increased international attention on Corporate Responsibilities (CR) and the ‘triple bottom line’ that emphasizes performance measurement of corporate, social, environmental and economic responsibilities. The Code represents three Ps in another sense; that it was developed through a unique Process of consultation and collaboration, a unique Product that meets both local and international requirements and unique Possibilities for sustainable business development.
The Code as a product was developed through the concerted efforts of multiple stakeholders ranging from large businesses, state enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses, business schools, trade and business associations, unions, financial institutions, consumer and other relevant organizations in both the public and private sectors.
The Ghana Business Code is a series of prescriptions based on the universal principles referred to in the UN Global Compact 10 Principles, relating to human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption.
Compliance with code of conduct is increasingly becoming a requirement in supply chain management, business match-making, business mentoring schemes, financing, national and international procurement.
The Code is intended to present best practices by adding requirement beyond core labour rights. Although, not all human rights are covered, there will be a continuous process of updating and refining the Code, which will include periodic revisions. The Code does not substitute sound legislation protecting the interests of employees, customers, or shareholders.
The Ghana Business Code is the first code ever formulated to apply to all segments of the national business community. Continuous strong collaboration between the stakeholders is crucial for the code to become a vehicle for improved business practice to the benefit of the people of Ghana; the stakeholders are committed to establishing awards and other enforcement mechanisms. The Code may serve to give guidance internally in a company and it may also serve to describe to the outside world how a business as an entity behaves.
The Ghana Business Code may add value to your business in terms of:
- Branding opportunity to attract foreign business operations and investment into Ghana;
- Potential of replacing costly individual supply chain management systems;
- Increasing your ability to attract and retain the highest qualified employees;
- Increasing employee motivation and loyalty and thereby productivity;
- Creating brand value of ‘best business practice’ towards consumers
- It is expected that all business comply with the laws of Ghana; where laws or specific industry codes provide for additional protection to the one prescribed by the Ghana Business Code, such as protection shall also be ensured.
Businesses have made much success in the agriculture and industrial industries. Growth in those sectors has increased on the average of nearly 5% every year. In the past they just traded with Europeans, but has started to add the United States into their plans. Ghana’s trade has grown since they joined ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). Just that alone has forced the government to keep tabs on bad business practices. These changes have made investing into Ghana quite lucrative.
There are some challenges to enter into the Ghana market. First of all the Ghanaian have very small purchasing power. The country has a very high inflation rate and they are very unfamiliar with American products. It is highly advisable to have a local agent or distributor that thoroughly understands the Ghanaian economy.