Facts to assist you when travelling to Ghana
- The Ghanaian population currently stands at 34 million.
Capital and Largest City
- The capital and largest city in Ghana is Accra.
- Ghana is a multilingual country, as different languages are spoken by its different ethnicities. However, all formal institutions as well as the government conduct business is English.
- The Ghanaian Cedi is the official currency of Ghana.
- People in Ghana work an average of 40 hours a week, from 8am until 5pm.
- Saturdays and Sundays are weekends in Ghana.
- Greenwich Mean Time.
- Tipping in Ghana is usually 10%-15% of the total bill.
- Ghana hosts 67 embassies and 46 consulates.
- The New Patriotic Party is the ruling party in Ghana.
- Ghana has a tropical climate. Average daily temperatures range from 30°C (86°F) during the day to 24°C (75°F) at night. 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.
- Transport in Ghana is conducted via road, rail, air and water. Increased transport investment helped to increase the number of new vehicle registrations and transportation alternatives include rail, road, ferry, marine and air.
- 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. Owing to a GDP rebasement, in 2011 Ghana became the fastest-growing economy in the world..
- Hospitality in Ghana is generally associated with the generous and friendly reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
- Handshakes are the most common means of greeting. It is common and respectful to wait for a woman to extend her hand first. Rushing a greeting is extremely rude. Instead, take time to inquire about people’s health, family and jobs. When addressing strangers or acquittances, use the honorific title plus any academic or professional title and the surname, and wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis.
- The Ghana Cedi (GHS), divided into 100 pesewas. The US Dollar (USD) is widely accepted in the main cities and tourist areas. Many international banks are represented in Ghana. ATMs are common in the cities but are harder to find in more rural locations. Hence, Ghana is a predominantly cash-based economy as a result of this as well as the prevalence of credit card fraud.
- Ghana’s transportation and communications networks are focused in the southern regions, most specifically in the areas in which some of their natural resource such a gold, cocoa, and timber are produced. The northern and central areas are connected through a major road system.
- Most visits to Ghana are trouble free, but criminal activity does occur and can range from incidents of petty crime to opportunistic crime, to violent crime such as robbery, burglary and serious assault that can include the use of weapons. Therefore, expats are advised to take necessary precautions.
- There are over 100 ethnic groups living in Ghana. The largest are Akan, Moshi-Dagbani, Ewe, and Ga. The Ashanti tribe of the Akan are the largest tribe and one of the few societies in West Africa. Once famous for the luxury and wealth of their rulers, they are now more well known for their craftwork such as hand-carved stools, fertility dolls, and ‘kente’ cloth. Kente cloth is made cotton and is woven in bright, narrow strips with complex patterns.
- The main shopping malls in Accra are Accra Mall, the Junction mall, the Achimota Mall and the WestHills Mall. The biggest is the WestHills Mall but it’s far from the Expat preferred residential areas. The most patronized is the Accra mall which tends to serve the Expat community due to its proximity. The Osu Mall is as good as the Accra mall and also patronized by the Expat community. Marina Mall is located in the Centre of Airport City.
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Written by Saudika Hendricks
Edited by Eloise Williams