flag Ghana Ghana: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Ghana | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities

 

FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2021, Ghana has recorded a 52% drop in FDI in 2020, leaving inflows at USD 1.9 billion, from USD 3.9 billion in 2019, following the health and economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The FDI stock reached USD 42 million in 2020. Strict lockdown measures in the first half of the year contributed to the drop in investment, with the country among the first on the continent to impose restrictions on mobility. According to UNCTAD’ Investment Trends Monitor, global FDI flows rebounded strongly in 2021, but FDI flows to African countries (excluding South Africa) rose only moderately. The top investing economies in 2020 were Australia, China, the Netherlands, South Africa and the UK. Almost half of FDI into Ghana was in manufacturing, while the services and mining sectors accounted for 25 and 16% of foreign investment respectively. The country hosts annual summits (Ghana Investment Summit) to position itself as a hub in West Africa for foreign investors.

The authorities in Ghana have been pursuing efforts to simplify the complex and lengthy procedures while also offering tax incentives. Additionally, Ghana is one of the most democratic countries in Africa, and it counts a large and inexpensive labour force, a substantial agricultural base, numerous natural resources and stable institutions. It is also one of the most open economies to foreign equity ownership in the region. However, the burdensome bureaucracy, corruption, weak productivity, costly and difficulty to obtain financing services, under-developed transport infrastructure, ambiguous property laws, frequent power and water cuts and an unskilled labour force are the main factors that hinder FDI. In the World Bank's 2020 Doing Business Report, Ghana ranked 118th worldwide for the ease of doing business, losing four positions compared to the previous year. Major ongoing reforms include dematerialising tax, legal and business registration processes. Also, issuing construction permits, operating permits and identification numbers will be automated and digitalised. In addition to these reforms, a scheme to boost the performances of the power sector was initiated. In January 2022, Ghana was removed from the EU grey list of high-risk money laundering countries.

 
 
Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 2,8271,8762,614
FDI Stock (million USD) 38,95340,82941,021
Number of Greenfield Investments* 453429
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 4,8481,3421,302

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

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What to consider if you invest in Ghana

Strong Points

Strong points of investing in Ghana include:

  • more developed infrastructure compared to most West African countries
  • political stability (ranks 1st for the Global Peace Index in West Africa - IEP, 2020) and steady growth
  • skilled and trainable labour
  • sizeable consumer base with an emerging middle class
  • hub for opportunities in other West African countries and access to other ECOWAS countries
  • 100% foreign ownership is permitted
  • expanding stock market
Weak Points

Challenges for investors in Ghana include:

  • heavy bureaucracy
  • high risk of corruption (75th out of 180 on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2020)
  • inconsistent electricity supply
  • underdeveloped capital market
  • challenges in emerging markets weighing on the local economy (e.g. recent depreciation of cedi)
  • despite improvements in per capita income, poverty persists in some rural areas
  • regional instability, particularly in Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Mali.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI

A reduced corporate tax rate of 8% is available for companies engaged in “non-traditional exports,” and a 20% rate applies to financial institutions on income from loans granted to farming enterprises and leasing companies.
Free Trade Zone (FTZ) companies have a 10-year exemption period after which they pay corporate tax at 15% on export sales.
A rebate is granted to manufacturing companies located outside Accra and Tema. In regional capitals (other than Accra and Tema), the rebate is 75% of the standard corporate tax rate of 25%, and in all other places, it is 50% of the standard tax rate.

Tax holidays are granted, from the beginning of the operations, in the following cases:

  • Agricultural enterprises, agro-processing and waste processing companies, rural banks and venture capital financing companies pay 1% corporate tax for periods ranging from five to 10 years.
  • Real estate companies pay 1% corporate tax for five years on income from certified low-cost housing, with some limitations.
  • Entrepreneurs aged 35 years and under are granted a five year corporate tax holiday if they are engaged in specific businesses. Businesses that qualify for the exemption include manufacturing, ICT, agro-processing, energy production, waste processing, tourism and creative arts, horticulture and medicinal plants. Such entrepreneurs also enjoy a rebate on corporate tax rates ranging from 5% to 15% for five years after the tax holiday.
  • Privately-owned universities are exempted from corporate tax if they reinvest 100% of their profits into the operation of the university.
  • Employers receive an additional tax deduction for employing new graduates as part of their workforce that ranges from 10% to 50% of the salaries or wages of such employees.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Foreign investors receive equal treatment and the Constitution provides for guarantees against expropriation of private investment. There are no restrictions on the transfer of capital, profits and dividends and Ghana is a signatory to the World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Convention. Foreigners are banned from investing in the following sectors: petty trading; the operation of taxi and car rental services with fleets of fewer than 25 vehicles; lotteries (excluding football pools); the operation of beauty salons and barber shops; printing of recharge scratch cards for subscribers to telecommunications services; production of exercise books and stationery; retail of finished pharmaceutical products; and the production, supply, and retail of drinking water in sealed pouches.
Acquisition of Holdings
Foreigners can claim 100% ownership in most industries and form joint ventures; however, some restrictions apply in the following industries: telecommunications, banking, fishing, mining, petroleum, and real estate. Foreign companies seeking petroleum exploration rights must form a consortium in which the state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) holds a minimum 10% stake.
Obligation to Declare
All foreign investors must register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). The registration process is designed to take up to five business days; however, it usually takes longer.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Specific investment authorisations are required in real estate, oil and gas, mining, insurance and telecommunications. Registration and annual renewal fees are also higher for foreign oil and gas service providers, and vary depending on their annual income between USD70,000 and USD150,000, against USD5,000 and USD30,000 for local companies.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Ghana Investment Promotion Centre
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders info, Tenders Worldwide
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry
 
 

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Latest Update: November 2022