With relatively diverse and abundant natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance.
Gold, cocoa, petroleum and individual remittances are major sources of foreign exchange. Agriculture continues to be a significant driver of the domestic economy, accounting for about 23 percent of GDP and employing about 35 percent of the work force, mainly small landholders.
With the 2007 confirmed discovery of commercially viable offshore oil reserves in Ghana (Jubilee Field) and production which begun in December 2010, there has been increased international interest in the Ghanaian market on the part of both oil and gas and auxiliary services sectors – as well as companies from unrelated sectors anticipating future economic growth in the country. Further oil and gas exploration continues and optimism is high for further discoveries.
Real GDP growth over the past ten years has averaged 7.4 percent with the most recent GDP figure at 4 percent (2014). Growth in 2011 was a startling 14 percent, a reflection of the anticipation around Ghana’s offshore oil reserves.
The rate of inflation for 2014 was 15.5%. This was a drop from close to 20% in 2009. Indicators point to inflation trending higher in 2015 and then leveling off in the mid to long-term.
A weakening local currency (the Cedi) and subsequent attempts to control outflows has created difficulties for foreign invested firms in Ghana and for companies selling into the market. U.S. exporters should be aware they may face payment issues as their Ghanaian customers deal with new and occasionally uncertain regulations surrounding outbound foreign currency payments.
Ghana’s main import partners include China (23 percent of total imports), the United States (10 percent), Belgium (8 percent) and India (5.1 percent).