- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Ghana Guide (PDF)
Ghana abounds with natural resources, from gold and bauxite to cocoa and offshore oil reserves. It has a much higher per capita output compared to the poorest countries in West Africa, but Ghana remains dependent on international financial- and technical assistance. Still, Ghana has a fast-growing economy, competing and engaging in international markets.
The service sector largely contributes to Ghana's GDP along with manufacturing, while agriculture remains the primary source of income for many Ghanaians.
Many people relocating to Ghana move to volunteer for a short period rather than work. However, those with the right skills and expertise will find that the economic climate in Ghana is bright.
Job market in Ghana
While the prospect of farming is unlikely to tempt foreigners to leave their home and work in Ghana, there are countless private sector opportunities in mining, oil, gas and shipping industries as well as construction, trade and finance. There is also substantial diplomatic representation in Ghana given the relative peace and stability in the country, and foreign diplomats are likely to find a place in this sector.
Ghana’s large service sector is a driving force behind its economy. Tourism is booming because, unlike many of its neighbouring counties, it has enjoyed political stability for a long time. This has created a high level of safety and a positive perception of the country among tourists and, as a result, there are many secure jobs in hospitality and tourism.
Expat expertise is usually sought in project management, financial control and general management positions. However, employers and organisations assume that many of these positions will eventually be handed over to locals through skills transfer from expats to Ghanaians. Expats should therefore prepare themselves to share their know-how with colleagues.
Ghana’s position as a developing country necessitates a large government funding and NGO sector. It follows that many expats travel to the country to volunteer or use their skills in a more meaningful way.
Expats can set up a business in Ghana, but should do research on the types of businesses they're allowed to build. Each organisation type comes with its own requirements and investment fees. It's advised that newcomers starting out should seek the assistance of a professional advisor with full knowledge of business, banking and tax law in Ghana.
Finding a job in Ghana
For expats fluent in English, language barriers are unlikely to be a problem when finding a job in Ghana. Those with good qualifications and experience as well as personal referrals are likely to succeed in the job market.
Work permits are essential and are generally organised by and limited to the company that arranges for the expat’s employment, though new arrivals can seek guidance from their respective embassies. Several institutions issue work permits, including Ghana Immigration Services (GIS), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the Ministry of the Interior (MOI). Generally, companies are given a work permit quota based on the amount of money invested in Ghana.
Considering this, most foreigners find work before arriving in Ghana either through companies they've worked for previously or through international job listings. Online job portals such as LinkedIn are a great tool for finding employment in Ghana. Networking with contacts in Ghana or other expats already working in the country can also lead to opportunities.
Work culture in Ghana
English is Ghana’s official language and as such it is used in the corporate environment. Work culture in Ghana is hierarchical with elders being respected and addressed appropriately.
Business hours are from 8am to 6.30pm during the week although banking hours are shorter. Shops and some banks are open on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm and most are closed on Sundays.
►Visas for Ghana provides information about the paperwork needed to enter the country
►For information on expat money matters, read Banking, Money and Taxes in Ghana
"Ghana is a developing country with loads of opportunities. Expats looking to work in Ghana should look into housing, real estate and production. Medical professionals are needed..." Read David's interview for more on job opportunities in Ghana.
"...some trailing spouses find short-term employment (typically at local-hire wage rates) through embassies and NGOs, who then organise employment visas." Read Chris' interview to get advice for trailing spouses in Ghana.
Are you an expat living in Ghana?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ghana. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
I'm a writer at heart with a double life as a regional sales manager in the telecoms industry in Africa. My work and social life take me around the continent, and provide me with a plethora of interesting material to ramble about, which I try to do at least weekly on my blog, Holli's Ramblings.
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