From The Hippo’s Ears: Ghana

Contributions by Valentine.

Facts you may not have know about Ghana:

Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the sub-region of West Africa. The country is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means “Warrior King” in the Soninke language.

Ghana has a population of approximately 28 million, and is a democratic country, led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government.

1.  When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

When meeting someone, it is common to shake hands as a greeting. It is also common to exchange pleasantries and inquire about family before beginning to transact any business.

2. What languages are spoken in the country?

English is the language of the state and widely used as a lingua franca. There are eleven languages that have the status of government-sponsored languages. As Ghana is surrounded by French-speaking countries, French is widely taught in schools and universities, as well as a language used for commercial and international economic exchanges. Since 2006, Ghana is an associate member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the global organisation that unites French-speaking countries.

3. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?

We use a mix of 12- and 24-hour systems.

4. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in the country?

We drive on the right side of road. One needs to be extra careful with taxis and commercial vehicles, as they sometimes stop or enter roads without any indication.

5. How important is punctuality?

Punctuality is not of the utmost importance, and events often start later than scheduled.

6. Which types of music are popular? Who are some of the most popular musicians?

The music of Ghana is diverse and varies between different ethnic groups and regions. Ghanaian music incorporates several distinct types of musical instruments such as the talking drum ensembles, Akan Drum, goje fiddle and koloko lute, court music, including the Akan Seperewa, the Akan atumpan, the Ga kpanlogo styles, and log xylophones used in asonko music. The most well known genres to have come from Ghana are African jazz, which was created by Ghanaian artist Kofi Ghanaba, and its earliest form of secular music, called highlife. Highlife originated in the late 19th century and early 20th century and spread throughout West Africa.

By the late 1990s, a new generation of artists discovered the so-called Hiplife. The originator of this style is Reggie Rockstone, a Ghanaian musician who dabbled with hip-hop in the United States before finding his unique style. Around the same time, the hip hop genre came into existence in Ghana.

For a taste of Senegalese music, listen to Reggie Rockstone’s Mapouka, and Efya’s Until the Dawn.

7. Are there any Traditional Dances?

Ghanaian dance is as diverse as its music, and there are traditional dances and different dances for different occasions. The best known Ghanaian dances are those performed during celebrations. These dances include the Adowa, Kpanlogo, Azonto, Klama, and Bamaya.

8.  What traditional Festivals are celebrated in the country?

Ghana plays host to many traditional, commemorative festivals celebrated throughout the year, which may be specific to certain cultural groups.

One such festival is the Odambea Festival, celebrated annually on the last Saturday of August. by the “Nkusukum” chiefs and people of the Saltpond Traditional Area. This event commemorates the migration of the “Nkusukum” people centuries ago from Techiman (500km away) to their present settlement. “Odambea” means “fortified link”, a name resulting from the role played by the “Nkusukum” people in keeping the migrant groups in touch with each other following their exodus from Techiman. A special feature of the festival is the re-enactment of the ancient life styles of the people, which provides a unique opportunity to learn more about how they migrated.

Another example is the Akwasidae Festival, held every six weeks, and celebrated by the Ashanti residents. The celebrations relate to honoring personal and community ancestors, and take place at the Manhyia Palace. The Ashanti King meets the chiefs in the Palace courtyard, and attendees are greeted with music and a parade.

9. What are the seasons like?

The climate of Ghana is tropical and there are two main seasons: the wet season and the dry season. The eastern coastal belt is warm and comparatively dry, the south-west corner of Ghana is hot and humid, and the north of Ghana is hot and dry.

North Ghana experiences its rainy season from April to mid-October while South Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to mid-November. Average daily temperatures range from 30°C (86°F) during the day to 24°C (75°F) at night with a relative humidity between 77 percent and 85 percent. Rainfall ranges from 78 to 216 centimeters (31 to 85 inches) a year.

10. What are some interesting facts about the President?

President Nana Akufo-Addo has been in office since January 2017. He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2003 and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007.

Akufo-Addo first ran for President in 2008 and again in 2012, both times as the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), but was defeated on both occasions. When he won during his third run, in 2016, it was the first time a sitting Ghanaian President had not won a second term.

In September 2017, the president launched the Free High School Education (SHS) policy, which will make secondary high school free for students in Ghana. Akufo-Addo was given an award for Exemplary Leadership in 2018 by the Whitaker Group.

11. What are the country’s major industries?

The economy of Ghana has a diverse and rich resource base, including the manufacturing and exportation of digital technology goods, automotive and ship construction and exportation, and the exportation of diverse and rich resources such as hydrocarbons and industrial minerals. These have given Ghana one of the highest GDP per capita in West Africa.

It is an emerging designated digital economy with mixed economy hybridization and an emerging market. It has an economic plan target known as the “Ghana Vision 2020”. This plan envisions Ghana as the first African country to become a developed country between 2020 and 2029 and a newly industrialized country between 2030 and 2039.

Ghana’s main exports are crude oil, gold, and cocoa beans. The Ministry of Tourism has placed great emphasis upon further tourism support and development. Tourist destinations include Ghana’s many castles and forts, national parks, beaches, nature reserves, landscapes and World Heritage buildings and sites.

12. How do people spend their free time?

Locals spend their free time in many different ways, with some choosing to spend time with family and friends, and others choosing to watch a football game, or develop a hobby.

13. What is a popular local drink?

In south Ghana, Ghanaian drinks such as asaana (made from fermented maize) are common. Along the Lake Volta and south Ghana, palm wine extracted from the palm tree can be found, but it ferments quickly and then it is used to distil akpeteshie (a local gin).  Along north Ghana, bisaab/sorrel, toose and lamujee (a spicy sweetened drink) are common non-alcoholic beverages whereas pitoo (a local beer made of fermented millet) is an alcoholic beverage.

Ghanaian distilleries produce alcoholic beverages from cocoa, malt, sugar cane, local medicinal herbs and tree barks. They include bitters, liqueur, dry gins, beer, and aperitifs.

14. What is a popular local dish?

Ghanaian main dishes are organized around a starchy staple food, with which goes a sauce or soup containing a protein sauce. The main ingredient for the vast majority of soups and stews are tomatoes- canned or fresh tomatoes can be used. As a result, nearly all Ghanaian soups and stews are red or orange in appearance.

The typical staple foods in the southern part of Ghana include cassava and plantain. In the northern part, the main staple foods include millet and sorghum. Yam, maize and beans are used across Ghana as staple foods. Sweet potatoes and cocoyam are also important in the Ghanaian diet and cuisine.

An example of a rice-based meal is waakye – a dish of rice and beans with a purple-brown color. The color comes from an indigenous leaf known as sorghum bi-color. This side dish bears striking similarities to West Indian rice and peas. The rice is cooked and steamed with an indigenous leaf, coconut and a pulse such as black-eyed or kidney beans. An example of a maize-based meal is Kenkey/Komi/Dokonu – fermented corn dough, wrapped in corn originating from the Ga who call it komi or Ga kenkey. Another variety originating from the Fanti people is Fante Dokono or Fanti Kenkey which is wrapped with plantain leaves that give it a different texture, flavour and colour as compared to the Ga kenkey. Both are boiled for long periods into a consistent solid balls.

Street food is very popular in both rural and urban areas of Ghana. Ghanaian families eat frequently at street food vendors, from whom all kinds of foods can be bought, including staple foods such as kenkey, red red and waakye. Other savoury foods such as kebab, boiled corn cob, ballfloat (bo-float) and roasted plantain are sold mainly by street food vendors.

15. What do you pay, on average, for the following? (1 USD = approx. GHS 4.79)

3 Course meal: ₵ 75
Domestic beer (500ml): ₵ 6
Cup of coffee: ₵ 10
Coca cola (330ml): ₵ 4
Milk (1l): ₵ 10
Loaf of white bread: ₵ 5
Apples (1 kg): ₵ 12
Water (1.5l): ₵ 3

16. Any general safety tips?

Ghana is regarded as one of the safest African countries for tourists, however it is still a good idea to remain vigilant when walking around, especially alone. It is best not to leave valuables exposed in your car, walk alone at night, carry large sums of money on you, and not accept rides from strangers.

17. In conclusion, famous (and sometimes infamous) people from the country include:

  • Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. He is the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
  • Akosua Busia, a Ghanaian actress, film director, author and songwriter who lives in the U.K. Busia is best known for her role as Nettie Harris in the 1985 film The Color Purple alongside Whoopi Goldberg.
  • Michael Essien, a Ghanaian professional footballer. He has also been capped for the Ghana national team more than 50 times.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]. Image sources: Kobe Subramaniam on Unsplash [1].

Immigration changes in Ghana and Nigeria

GHANA | Recent Announcement Requires Medical Certificates to Be Obtained In-Country 

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) recently posted a brief announcement of a new policy – purportedly with an effective date of February 15 – requiring all new applicants for work and residence permits to obtain medical certificates only through the GIS medical facility at its headquarters in Ghana. Previously, medical certificates in support of a work permit applications could be issued by a local doctor in the applicant’s home country.

The practical implication of the announcement and new policy is somewhat unclear, as work permit applications are typically made before the applicant travels to Ghana. If this new policy is implemented, it will have significant impact for the work permit application process. Immigration Specialists in Ghana are struggling to sort-out the new policy; however, thus far, the GIS has released no further guidance.

 

 

NIGERIA | New Executive Order Imposes Tougher Local Hiring Measures
On February 2, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed an executive order (EO5) aimed at promoting local Nigerian expertise in science, engineering, and technology. EO5 prohibits the federal Ministry of Interior (FMI) from issuing visas to foreign workers whose skills are deemed to be readily available in Nigeria. Consideration of work visas will only be given to foreign nationals where has been certified by the appropriate governmental authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria. Under the order, Nigerian government agencies must also give hiring preference to foreign companies and firms with demonstrable and verifiable plans for indigenous development.

While further guidelines and directives on the implementation of EO5 are expected from the authorities, the executive order is expected to have significant impact on the employment-based immigration of foreign nationals, especially in fields of science, engineering, and technology. Companies hiring foreign workers should expect more rigorous scrutiny of applications for expatriate quotas and the stricter application of requirements such as the understudies requirement, registration with professional bodies, and more onsite visits and audits by Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

 

Source

Ghana Begins Water Rationing

The state-owned Ghana Water Company Ltd. has announced that because of severe dry winter winds and the drying up of rivers, water deliveries will be rationed over the coming months while the country awaits the rain.

The company has stated the cause of the shortages to be bad farming practices, the illegal felling of trees, illegal small-scale gold mining, and pollution of the country’s water bodies.

In a recent interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, Stanley Martey, communications director of Ghana Water Company, revealed that with the exception of the eastern and the Ashanti regions, all regions in Ghana will have water rationed. Martey dismissed charges that Ghana Water Company was responsible for the dire water crisis.

According to residents, most of the rivers in the northern region have dried up completely.

Ghana Water Company has said that a timetable will be released soon to guide consumers as to when taps will be turned off, and that no community will go without water for more than two consecutive days.

Meanwhile, some 23.1 million Ghanaians, representing 73 percent of the 27 million population, are using water that does not meet the benchmark of Sustainable Development Goal requirements of at-home availability, reliable and contaminant-free drinking water. Only 3.9 million Ghanaians have access to drinking water that meets the requirements.

With increasing populations and climate change negatively impacting the adequate supply of fresh water in numerous countries around the world at present, lawmakers, corporations, and citizens are having to become increasingly inventive with how they reduce their usage.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Source: Lisa Vives/Global Information Network [1]. Image source: [1].

Corporate Housing: How Relocation Africa Can Help You

Mobility

Corporate Housing

Searching for corporate housing?

Whether you’re a business traveler or you represent an international company, we can help you find a new temporary home in South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya. We cater to our clients’ wishes and needs with a wide range of accommodation options. Simply tell us what you require and our professional team will find you the perfect apartment in no time.

What to expect from our corporate housing?

We offer serviced apartments that are fully furnished. Think about a fully equipped kitchen, weekly cleaning, high-speed Internet and other convenient facilities. We constantly look for the best ways to meet the needs of modern business travelers, and make our guests feel at home. In short, you will have the amenities and usual perks of a hotel, combined with the many benefits, such as more space and privacy, of having your own apartment.

For more information on our Corporate Housing solution, please contact Ursula@relocationafrica.com

Relocation Africa – a Brief History

A Brief History

As the New South Africa was being born and South Africa was on the world stage, Relocation Africa started in 1993 in Johannesburg, South Africa, providing homefinding services to expatriates moving into Johannesburg. In 1997 the Cape Town branch was opened and Immigration services were included into the offering to support the client’s needs and in 1999 the international payment service was incorporated to support international clients needs to transact expatriate’s payments in South Africa.

In 2000 the Relocation Africa head-office was consolidated to Cape Town and an internal web-based system was developed to support the needs of the business and facilitate the centralised head office business model. The business decided to register a sister company called Global Expatriate Management (GEM) to take over the payments services as well as starting a payroll solution for clients who had regional offices across Africa but with a centralised payroll head office in South Africa.

Africa
In 2002 we made the strategic decision to expand relocation services into Africa. The network of consultants being recruited across Africa were able to provide housing data so in 2004 GEM formalised this housing data into a formal housing survey. We now run these biannual surveys across most countries in Africa. In 2005 GEM expanded to collect cost of living data with a network of field workers across Africa.

In 2006, due to client demand, we started expanding immigration services into other African countries. Our next key step was formalising a training department within the business in 2008 – prior to that, it had been the responsibility of the account managers to recruit and train consultants. The business has grown organically over the interleading years due to some key staff who always worked above and beyond what was asked of them.

In 2013 Relocation Africa rebranded into the Relocation Africa Group incorporating GEM’s services to formalise the service offering to clients with our four divisions, being Mobility, Immigration, Research and Remuneration.

Each division has a colour, icon and animal assigned with it and we use this branding to differentiate our services.


Immigration Services

Immigration Services

Immigration

Immigration Services


Destination Services

Destination Services

Destination Services

Destination Services


Research

Research

Research

Research


Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments


Africa is an exciting space to be working and we strive to deliver a consistent quality of service to all clients no matter where the services are delivered in Africa.

Being a cog in the machinery facilitating the development of skills across Africa is what drives the management of Relocation Africa to help upskill Africa.

GOLDweblogo_curveIn 2016 we discovered an inspiring organisation called Generation of Leaders Discovered or GOLD for short (www.goldpe.org.za). The are based in Cape Town near our head office, and they have an inspiring model which gives hope and skills to Africa’s disenfranchised youth. They identify young opinion leaders in communities and invite them to go through their program, they give them hope, give them skills and enable them to become peer educators and role models within their peer groups. The results of their programs is astonishing. Please email us if you would like to know more about GOLD and what they do.

We are currently developing an internship program with GOLD and we are building a relationship with them as what they do fits in with our philosophy of helping to develop skills across Africa.

Our Promise

Embracing the Unknown

Our Vision

Our vision is to be the preferred supplier in Africa of trusted seamless relocation services to our clients to ensure their assignees become effective employees quickly.

Our Mission

Our mission is to remain a reliable and consistent quality managed provider of a comprehensive range of services to companies moving assignees into Africa, by removing the fear of the unknown continent.