Time zone: GMT
Plugs: Three-prong flat
Dialling code: +233
Currency: Ghanaian Cedi – $1=3.8GHS
A well-administered country by regional standards, Ghana is often seen as a model for political and economic reform in Africa.
Cocoa exports are an essential part of the economy – Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer behind the Ivory Coast, and Africa’s biggest gold miner after South Africa.
But the economy has slowed in recent years, owing to a severe energy crisis, unsustainable domestic and external debt burdens, and deteriorated macroeconomic and financial imbalances.
GDP figures issued by Ghana Statistical Services suggest that the economy expanded by 4.2% in 2014, less than the growth of 7.3% recorded in 2013. The drivers of growth continue to be the service sectors, which constitute 50.2% of the economy, followed by industry and agriculture at 28.4% and 19.9% respectively.
In 2016 the economy is expected to recover, registering growth of around 6%, bolstered by an increase in oil and gas production, private sector investment, improved public infrastructure and the country’s political stability. Nonetheless, the prevailing low international oil prices could slow the pace of economic growth.
AIRILINES & AIRPORTS
Accra’s Kotoka International Airport is a small airport, but a functional one, with passport control and baggage collection well managed, despite not being exceptionally big spaces. Kotoka International has an open-air front concourse with seating and a coffee shop or two, whilst taxi pick-up takes place to the right, through a short passage, as you exit the terminal.
There’s also a user-friendly drop-off zone, making the start of one’s departure fairly seamless. Once checked in, security, curio shops, duty free and lounges are upstairs.
As far as lounges go, you’ll find the Adinkra and Akwaaba lounges airside in the international departures terminal, with the latter closer to gate one. The Akwaaba lounge is charming, with a great view of the departing planes on the tarmac, comfortable seating, coffee tables and plenty of plug points. It also has a bar counter in the corner, plenty of newspapers, a fridge with cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, filter coffee, snacks on offer, clean and convenient toilets, and most importantly, a speedy wi-fi connection.
The 5-star Moevenpick Ambassador opened in mid-2011 and until the opening of the new Kempinski had been the gold standard for international business travellers. Located in Accra’s downtown business district, the Moevenpick has all of the amenities business travellers need, including a 24-hour business centre and complimentary wireless internet. The hotel has multiple dining locations, as well as 24-hour room service.
Also located downtown and in close proximity to the State House, Accra International Conference Centre, and the National Theatre, Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City opened on 1 November and has 269 rooms, including 22 luxury suites. It also has an extensive food and beverage offering, including its Papillon Restaurant, Lobby Lounge, Gallery Bar, and Cedar Garden. Additional facilities include a Resense Spa, health club, swimming pool, tennis court and 1,750m2 conference centre.
Downtown also has a Novotel and the Alisa Hotel in North Ridge, whilst Accra’s only other 5-star hotel, Legacy’s Labadi Beach Hotel, offers something quite different from the Kempinski and Moevenpick. While it is located on the beach, it is within a short, but not always quick, drive of the city and airport. The hotel has a business centre, conference facilities, and wi-fi in the common areas. A few hundred metres up from Labadi Beach Hotel you’ll find La-Palm Royal Beach.
The Golden Tulip Accra is located five minutes from Kotoka International and is one of a host of hotels in the area that include Preferred Hotel Group’s Fiesta Royale, the Holiday Inn Accra Airport, the Best Western Premier Accra Airport, the African Regent Hotel, and a delightful boutique property called Villa Monticello.
The most recent opening was that of the Fiesta Residences Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments, with this Preferred property created for guests planning an extended stay.
That covers the three main areas of Accra – the beach, downtown, and the airport – and because traffic can be a problem, it’s recommended that you select a hotel that’s conveniently located for your meeting(s).
Foreign nationals of the following countries can enter Ghana visa-free: ECOWAS countries, plus Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Singapore, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Otherwise, unless in direct airside transit through a Ghanaian airport, all other foreign nationals require a visa to enter Ghana, and it is recommended that these are obtained prior to arrival. There is no such thing as a visa on arrival for Western countries.
General Manager – Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City
Kotoka International Airport is fairly basic by international standards, but holds unique appeal because of its close proximity to the city centre and the ultra-modern Airport City development, with several high-rise buildings that are home to shopping centres, restaurants, banks, hotels, and upscale residential properties. This allows travellers to check into their hotels, or be seated for dinner in any of the city’s restaurants, within minutes of leaving the airport.
There is an abundant supply of taxis that ply major roads at all hours of the day and night. However, local taxi drivers tend to rely heavily on landmarks for directions, so it is advisable to obtain very clear directions to your destination before embarking on trips around the city. For visitors who prefer a more reliable mode of transportation, there are several car rental companies that offer a car service with uniformed drivers and luxury vehicles that can be rented on an hourly or daily basis.
Although conducting business in Ghana can be difficult at times, the country has certainly not been left behind when it comes to access to technology. Ghana is home to a very tech-savvy population with a very high mobile phone penetration; a large percentage of whom are active users of social media and other online services. Most internet access is via mobile data and wi-fi access is readily available in most hotels, cafes and restaurants, allowing visitors to access the internet almost anywhere in the country.
Hendrik du Preez
Area Manager Ghana – Emirates
Shopping experiences range from the busy and bustling street markets at Makola to refined shopping malls such as Marina and West Hills found around the capital. Haggling with a street vendor is as possible as enjoying high-end luxuries in one day. The street food culture in Accra is legendary. Traditional dishes served on plantain leaves can be purchased on almost every corner, whilst you are also able to enjoy five-course meals in a number of exclusive establishments. Bread&Wine is well known for its exceptional French cuisine, Santoku is a popular Japanese restaurant, and Tandoor and Yasmina are favourites for their Indian and Lebanese flavours, respectively. Vida e Caffé recently opened a number of branches across Accra. Getting around is easy and affordable, as public and private transport business thrives in Ghana. Bureau de change offices and wi-fi connectivity are readily available in most parts of Greater Accra. Ghanaians are extremely proud of their history and are always happy to invite you to learn about it. During a business day a foreign investor is as likely to have lunch with a tribal queen mother or village chief as he or she is to negotiate contracts around a boardroom table in a multi-storey building in the city centre. The official language in Ghana is English, but it is more challenging dealing with informal traders outside of Accra, as they mostly speak local dialects or broken English. There is also a substantial amount of red tape should one try and set up one’s own business, and this could be quite costly as minimum investments from foreign companies are required in order to complete registrations.
Africa World – flyawa.com.gh
Afrinat – afrinat.com
Air Burkina – air–burkina.com
Air Cote d’Ivoire – aircotedivoire.com
Antrak – antrakair.com
Arik – arikair.com
ASKY – flyasky.com
BA – britishairways.com
Brussels – brusselsairlines.com
Delta – delta.com
EgyptAir – egyptair.com
Emirates – emirates.com
Ethiopian – ethiopianairlines.com
Iberia – Iberia.com
Kenya – kenya–airways.com
KLM – klm.com
Lufthansa – lufthansa.com
Middle East – mea.com.lb
Royal Jordanian – rj.com
RwandAir – rwandair.com
SAA – flysaa.com
TAP – flytap.com
Turkish – thy.com
Avis – avis.com
Eurostar – eurostarlimos.com
Afia African – afiavillage.com
African Sun – africansunhotels.com
African Regent – african-regent-hotel.com
African Royal – africanroyalbeachhotel.com
Airport View – airportviewhotel.net
Airport West – airportwesthotel.com
Alisa – alisahotels.com
Best Western – bestwesternpremier.com
Coconut Grove – coconutgrovehotelsghana.com
Crystal Palm – crystalpalmhotels.com.gh
De Holiday Beach – deholidaybeachhotel.com
Fiesta Residences – fiestaresidences.com
Fiesta Royale – fiestaroyalehotel.com
Frankie’s – frankies-ghana.com
Golden Tulip – goldentulipaccrahotel.com
Gye Nyame – gyenyamehotel.com
Highgate – highgatehotel.com
Holiday Inn – holidayinn.com
Hotel Elegance – hotelelegance-accra.com
Kempinski – kempinski.com
Korkdam – korkdamhotel.com
La Villa – lavillaboutiquehotelaccra.com
La Palm – palm-royal-beach-accra.hotel-rn.com
Labadi Beach – legacyhotels.co.za
Mahogany Lodge – mahoganylodge.com
Mensvic – mensvichotels.com
Moevenpick – moevenpick-hotels.com
Novotel – novotel.com
Oak Plaza – oakplazahotel.com
Pemicsa – pemicsahotel.com
Ramada – ramadaresortaccra.com
Robinhood Inn – accrarobinhood.com.gh
Soriania – sorianiahotel.com
Travel Xpress – travelxpresshotelghana.com
Tribeca – tribecahotelgh.com
Villa Monticello – villamonticello.com
Amex – amextravel.co.za
BCD – bcdtravel.com
CWT – carlsonwagonlit.com
FCm – fcm.travel
HRG – hrgworldwide.com
SATC – satravelcentre.com