Ghana: Success model for Africa and important hub for West Africa
Ghana may prepare for a GDP growth of over 7% also within the next years. The country is regarded as one of Africa’ success models, due to its political stability, transparency and eco-friendliness. Ghana is the third-largest importer in Sub-Sahara-Africa, only next to South Africa and Nigeria.
John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won the presidential elections on 7 December 2012. He succeeded to John Atta Mills, deceased in the middle of 2012. It is widely expected that he continues the stability course of the last decades.
The work of the new president could be aggravated, however, by a development which at present is still considered to be beneficial for the West African country: The enormous revenues from the oil production. Improving the income side of the country so much, the distributional struggles might increase thus as well, for instance the danger of corruption. Observers hope that such possible trends do not endanger the stability of the country, and the quite good climate for investment.
Observers see the economic performance of Ghana positively for the next years. Ghana belongs to the out-performers in Subsahara-Africa, with gdp-growth rates of considerably more than 7% also in the years to come. The growth should be driven by various sectors. Next to the oil and gas sector, the agrofood as well as the mining (gold) sector will contribute to high growth rates. The telecommunications and the building sector will also create lots of investments and business.
Ghana has been able to profit strongly of its own political and economic stability in a region shaken by political crisis. Like this the country has developed into a „Donor darling“ of the international giver community.
Potential investors and enterprises which want to export to Ghana should take into account the strengths and the opportunities of the country:
• huge reserves in oil and gas, gold and cacao
• relatively low corruption grade
• political stability, good and stable relation with donor countries, “Donor darling“ of the international giver community
• hub for West Africa
• oil and gas sector on the upswing. Good chances to supply equipment.
• numerous infrastructural investments (energy, telecoms, transport)
• considerable market for capital and consumer goods
Ghana's building sector records a high increase in sales already for some years. According to Bank of Ghana studies, the sales volume doubled between 2006 and 2010, to 1.2 billion US$. Also within the next years this development might further continue. With the help of high income out of the oil and gas business the government very actively tackles its infrastructural projects. Street construction projects, like the Eastern Corridor Roads Project, and energy transmission and distribution projects are part of it. In future there will be some big low-cost housing projects, partly financed by the state.
Electrical engineering and electronics
Suppliers of electrical engineering and electronics equipment find good demand in various sectors in Ghana. Telecommunications, energy and the oil and gas sector. The telecommunications sector with its very profitable mobile telephony suppliers has already been growing for years. The oil and gas business, however, only started in 2010. Due to the energy shortage quite a number of investments lie ahead in this area.
Telecoms and IT
Altogether five mobile telephony suppliers have a license to work in Ghana: MTN with a market share of 47% in 2012, Vodafone 21%, Tigo 15%, Airtel 14% and Glo 2%. The market is highly competitive and the network coverage, with nearly 85%, is very high for African conditions. The market is saturated in mobile telephony. Therefore the operators try to get increasingly active in the non-voice area. Mobile data transmission has good future potential, e-commerce, e-banking, …
Ghana's medical sector is built quite well, compared with many other countries in Sub-Sahara-Africa. So the foundation of the National Health Insurance System (NHIS) in 2003, for which more than 60% of the Ghanaians have registered themselves by now, has led to a considerably better access to the health care system. The private health sector profited from the introduction of the NHIS, and ever since grows continuously, too. Especially the private hospitals regularly ask for qualitatively good medical equipment. It depends on the solvency of the NHIS how far this is possible in future. So new sources of income must be developed so that the general health insurance system does not become unprofitable.
Immediately after oil deposits were discovered in Ghana, it came to investments. This is not natural for African conditions and has to do very much with the stable political environment and the quite low corruption level in Ghana. Investors have visibly taken hold of confidence in the political environment of the West African country.
Other sectors, like mining, farming, the food industry, the retail trade, mobile communications or also the energy area might attract private investments within the next years. To be added on are public investments into infrastructural projects which are still in the public hand such as streets, ports, airports or also projects for energy transmission and distribution.
Profiting from good market access to West Africa within the last few years, Ghana has become an attractive hub. So it does not astonish that companies more and more move forward from the pure export business to a permanent representative office in Ghana to tackle the entire West African market.
Immediately after oil deposits were discovered in Ghana, it came to investments. This is not natural for African conditions and has to do very much with the stable business environment. The international business community, in 2012, has exported goods to Ghana to the value of over 17.7 billion Euro, a plus of 12.1%. This trend could already be noticed in previous years. The upward trend still might continue within the next years. The forecasts of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) see annual import increases, for 2012 to 2014, of more than 10%. Ghana is import dependent, especially what concerns investment goods, high-tech products, equipment and machinery, but also consumer goods such as motor vehicles, household and consumer goods electronics and special chemical products.
The prospects for Ghanaian consumption are positive. For some years it has come to increased investments in the construction of shopping malls (South African chains.) These concentrate in cities like Accra or Kumasi. Also for the local consumer goods industry new possibilities open up. It also might come to investments in the food and packaging area. The quickly enlarging middle shift could provide a continuous high demand. The Ghanaian market counts some 25 million inhabitants.
Ghana's energy sector is experiencing an investment boom at the moment. The provision of about 644 MW is targeted, an increase of about 30%. Ghana's ministry of energy has established a strategy and development plan for the sector in 2010 with the aim of increasing the electricity generation capacity of 2.120 MW to 5.000 MW in 2015. The market for renewable energies also gets started. The government has passed suitable framework conditions with a law, the publication of the feed-in tariff soon shall be carried out. Chinese enterprises might be ahead due to the better financing offers at large-scale projects. European technology has however good chances for private customers for small and medium-sized plants.
Oil and gas
Since 2010 Ghana produces oil from the Jubilee oil field. New finds were made meanwhile. The Jubilee oil field is exploited by the Irish Tullow Oil together with another four partners. At present, 70.000 bpd are being exploited. Over the medium term production will be increased. The capacity of 250,000 bpd then shall be reached. In July 2012, the Chinese Sinopec won the 750 million US$ tender for the transport, the processing and marketing of gas which is won from the Jubilee field in the course of the oil production.
Ghana’s mining industry is optimistic due to high world market prices. Since this sector contributed about 40% to the hard currency revenues of the country in 2011, its importance cannot be underestimated. With a share of 95%, gold is by far the most important product in local mining. Furthermore larger quantities of bauxite, manganese and diamonds are extracted. Within the next years there is a good chance for a high demand for mining technology, provided the prices for minerals remain high. Existing mines shall be extended or modernized and investments are foreseen in completely new mines. About 1 billion US$ will be invested into the Akyem gold mine, about 130 km north of Accra.
High prices for agricultural products make this sector very attractive. Agriculture moreover is one of the greatest employers in Ghana. So the production of cacao, which is mainly exported, shall further be increased and its quality shall be improved within the next years. The rise of the quality is particularly intended. Other export fruits, such as pineapple, however suffer from the lacking demand in Europe. On the other side, Ghana must import a large part of its food. Also in this sector there is a lot of potential in view of the good soil as well as a rainy climate.