Includes information on acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, etc.
Last Published: 7/27/2017
Ghanaians tend to be somewhat traditional in both personal and business life. Exchange of greetings and pleasantries along with handshakes are obligatory aspects of business dealings in Ghana. An important convention to remember when visiting Ghana is the ‘right to left’ handshake tradition: if several people are present (regardless of their job title or age) be sure to shake hands with the person on your right first, working from your right to left until all have been greeted.

Face to face contact is the preferred method of transacting business in Ghana. While Ghanaians are accustomed to dealing over email, telephone or fax – face to face contact is the most effective way of building long term business relationships. While personal visits to potential business partners may seem an inefficient way of doing business, over the long term such courtesies can yield rewards in the form of loyal business contacts.

If visiting Ghana for the first time, be prepared for a different cultural understanding of time. Meetings often start late and last for a longer time than a similar meeting in the United States. For this reason, flexibility should be built into meeting schedules in advance. Ghanaians find it polite to spend at least the first few minutes of the meeting in exchanging pleasantries – it can be off-putting to many Ghanaians to plunge straight into a business conversation without some social pleasantries first.

Business dress in Ghana is fairly formal. Most Ghanaian business people wear business suits/dresses during working hours. Traditional Ghanaian attire is often worn after work for social functions and some Ghanaian business people wear traditional clothing during the business day – particularly on Fridays. Lightweight clothing (whether business or leisure) is appropriate year round in Ghana due to the very warm climate and high humidity.
Business cards are widely used in Ghana, so be sure to have an adequate supply for your visit. It is common practice to give a business card to almost everyone you meet in a business setting.

Some U.S. businesses have reported being asked for ‘gifts’ or favors’ from contacts in Ghana, in return for facilitating business transactions. U.S. business people should make it clear to any person requesting such a ‘gift’ or ‘favor’ that as U.S. businesses/citizens they can be subject to prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for acquiescing to such a request.

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Ghana Trade Development and Promotion Business Travel and Etiquette