If you have read some of our Country Guides detailing the economies of other nations, you may have realized that oftentimes, we refer to the consequences of the worldwide financial crisis of 2008/9. This article on working in Ghana is very different in that respect: while many countries toiled with recuperating their weakened economies, Ghana’s economy showed little signs of slowing down and reached double-digit growth in 2011. Depending on which sources you trust, the Ghanaian economy grew by 13–20% that year, placing it among the top ranks worldwide. While this trend slowed down in 2012, Ghana was still among the top 15 countries in terms of economic growth.
As is the case in many other developing nations, the services sector is the main driving force behind the national economy and also the sector in which most people working in Ghana have found employment. Below, however, we take a look at some of the sectors that have helped shape a positive image of Ghana in the business world.
Ghana’s history of sound economic management is surely an important factor in the sustained growth of its economy during the years of worldwide economic turbulences. If you also take into consideration which sectors are the most important and lucrative the country’s great performance is less of a surprise, but no less respectable. The production of gold and diamonds — and by extension, Ghana’s mining sector — continue to be important pillars of the Ghanaian economy. Other natural resources that abound on the national territory and put bread on the tables of those working in Ghana’s mines include bauxite and manganese ore, to name but two. Sectors and industries related to mining and oil production, such as aluminum smelting or oil refinery, are equally important and booming.
The discovery of large oil reserves just off the coast promises to further boost the economic performance of the nation. Oil companies have already begun working in the Jubilee oil field in the end of 2010. The result of this was a big growth of the GDP from 2011 until 2013.
Among the most widely available and easily accessible natural resources in many parts of the country is timber. As about a third of the nation is covered by woods and forests, the forestry sector keeps large numbers of Ghanaians employed. However, severe deforestation has made it necessary for the Ghanaian government to slow down the enthusiasm for lumbering the companies working in Ghana’s forests have shown in the past to preserve the country’s national beauty and fragile ecosystems.
Ghana’s abundance of natural resources may be an important factor in terms of GDP, but when it comes to employment, another sector is the leading force. More than half of the population is working in the agricultural sector. Not only do the men and women working in Ghana’s fields and plantations ensure the availability of staple foods such as grains, rice, cassavas, yams, and various types of livestock, but also supply the world market with first-class cocoa, one of the main exports of Ghana.
In contrast to some other countries in West Africa, Ghana has long enjoyed political stability, a generally high level of safety and a very positive image throughout the world. These factors, as well as some obvious ones as the prevalence of English and, of course, the natural and cultural treasures the country boasts, make it a popular tourist destination. Ghana’s hospitality sector provides relatively secure jobs due to the steady influx of visitors nearly year-round.
It is safe to say that for people Ghanaians, none of the nation’s international ties is as fruitful or lucrative as that to China. For more than 50 years, Ghana has had excellent economic and diplomatic ties to the Asian giant, which have been fruitful for both parties both in the past and present. With the continued boom of the world’s third largest country, companies and people working in Ghana reap the benefits of substantial Chinese investments in the national economy, particularly in the manufacturing and trade sectors as well as the Ghanaian infrastructure. These investments are also one of the causes for the more than respectable growth figures the nation boasted in the past years — which is obviously a definite bonus both for the people of Ghana and the Chinese stakeholders. Furthermore, China is the largest exporter to Ghana, supplying the country with machinery and raw material that oftentimes make working in Ghana possible in the first place.
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