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Country Reports

Ghana Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Ghana’s December 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections will see President Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration seeking a second four-year term. He is contesting the election against former president John Mahama of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). The NPP government has shown some positive signs of progress with its economic reform agenda since winning the December 2016 elections. This has focused on enhancing domestic resource mobilisation through improved tax compliance and digitalisation of government services to reduce administrative corruption, reducing inflation, and cleaning up the banking sector and financial system. However, as is the norm with election cycles, the administration is under increasing pressure to spend ahead of the December 2020 elections, with opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions criticising the government over rising costs of living amid stagnant public-sector wages.Businesses face increased tax enforcement to boost fiscal revenues, precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the commodities price fall, to meet an ambitious public-spending programme. The government's non-oil revenue plans indicate the telecoms, energy, and mining sectors are targets for tax increases in the one-year outlook amid a hardening regulatory stance.IHS Markit expects Ghana’s economy to enter recession in 2020 as the COVID-19 virus outbreak adversely affects economic activity; this is despite the government taking proactive policy responses to mitigate adverse economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. We currently project that real GDP will contract by 1% (down from 5.5% initially) in 2020, rising to 1.5% growth in 2021 and 2.98% in 2022.Extraordinary fiscal spending to accommodate COVID-19 virus mitigation will sustain a higher overall budget deficit than programmed in the 2020 budget. Expenditure pressures persist owing to a high public-sector wage bill, debt interest obligations, statutory payments, and the December 2020 elections.
Last update: August 26, 2020

Operational Outlook

The government is implementing its reform agenda with institutional audits in the energy, mining, and telecoms sectors. However, moves such as the appointment of over 100 ministers highlight risks from corruption and institutional capacity with likely turf wars developing. Ghana has enacted various legal frameworks, such as the Public Procurement Act, to deal with public-sector corruption but faces enforcement challenges. Public-sector corruption is likely to be reduced through e-governance initiatives; labour strikes and protests are likely to decrease due to the announcement of COVID-19 stimulus package.

Last update: August 26, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

Ghana is an aspirational target for Islamist militant groups seeking to establish a presence in coastal West Africa. These groups, affiliated with Salafist jihadist groups have demonstrated operational capability with targeted attacks in Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Since 2018, various individuals with connections to militant groups have been moving in and out of Ghana across the Burkinabé border using familial connections and routes in illegal mining ('galamsey') zones in the predominantly Muslim northern Ghana. One-off low-sophistication Islamist attacks on churches and hospitality venues are likely in Ghana amid growing militant-network penetration. Ghana's navy is equipped to deal with piracy risks in the Gulf of Guinea.

Last update: August 26, 2020

Crime

Organised criminal networks in Ghana focus mainly on armed robbery, kidnap-for-ransom, money laundering and cocaine trafficking to various destinations in Europe. Cyber-crime is predominantly done by unemployed youths known as 'Sakawa Boys'. While crime rates in Ghana are lower than in peer countries such as Nigeria, kidnap-for-ransom and armed robberies are rising. Incidents of aggravated assaults, burglaries, and armed robberies are on the rise in the major towns, including Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. The most common forms of street crime are pick-pocketing and bag-snatching at entertainment venues in Osu, central Accra. Thefts of documents and baggage do also occur at Kotoka International Airport and at the Aflao customs post on the Ghana-Togo border.

Last update: August 26, 2020

War Risks

Interstate disputes, especially over border demarcation, are more likely to be resolved through negotiation and arbitration than militarily. Ghana's maritime dispute with neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire was settled in September 2017 by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea through arbitration. Domestically, sporadic communal violence due to disputes over chieftaincy succession does occur between ethnic groups mostly in the Northern regions. Communal violence has also occurred in ethnically based communities in key cities such as Accra and Kumasi. These disputes are, however, unlikely to degenerate into civil war. Risks of political party protests turning violent are likely to increase in the lead-up to national and local elections.

Last update: August 26, 2020

Social Stability

High

Politically motivated protests will increase in the run-up to the 2020 elections. Protests led by the opposition, civil society groups, and labour unions are frequent and often peaceful, but can disrupt traffic and cargo movement for up to six hours due to roadblocks. Demonstrations are, however, likely to turn violent if there are confrontations with security forces, leading to rioting and vandalism of property. Hotspots for protests in Accra include the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, Independence Avenue, and local communities such as Agbobgloshie. Sporadic inter-communal violence is most likely to continue in the north.

Last update: August 26, 2020

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

It should be noted that two rainy seasons (April-May and August-October) sometimes bring torrential rain and floods that can cause significant damage to road infrastructure.

Swimming in waters off the Ghanaian coast is dangerous due to rip tides.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Roads in Ghana are in decent condition but traffic accidents are common, particularly on the main highways (e.g. linking Accra with Kumasi and Takoradi). Due to the absence of street lighting, driving at night is not advisable.

Illegal roadblocks are sometimes reported, particularly outside large cities. Assaults and carjackings are on the rise, particularly in the following areas: Graphic Route, the George Walker Bush highway, the Accra Mall rotary (roundabout), the Awudome cemetery road, the Pokuase-Amasaman route, areas along the coast, and along the Teshie-Nungua route. 

Be wary of drivers claiming to have mechanical issues or flat tires as this could be a ruse to induce good Samaritans to pull over before being robbed. Be particularly vigilant to these risks in the above zones.

Generally speaking, always drive with windows closed and doors locked, be aware of your surroundings, ensure you are not being followed, and check that there is no one hiding inside your vehicle before entering it. In the event of an assault, do not offer resistance.

It is not advisable to use public transit, including private minibuses called "Trotros," particularly after nightfall.

Shipwrecks are common on Lake Volta. If travel by ferry is necessary, make sure that health and safety conditions are sufficient, i.e. that there are enough lifejackets and that the ferry's radio is in good working order.

Regarding domestic flights, a number of airlines connect Accra with Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale. Domestic airlines adhere to international safety regulations.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Ghana's climate is tropical. Conditions are hot and dry in the north of the country and hot and humid in the southwest (plains and forests). The rainy season lasts from May until October in the south and from June until September in the north. The ocean is warm all year long.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +233
Police: 999 ou 191
Ambulance: 999 ou 192
Fire Dept.: 999 ou 193
Ghana National Fire Service: 66 49 37

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019