Ghana – Sector Overview 2019

Despite a Mixed Economy, Opportunities Persist in Many Areas

Published: 11 February 2019

Chemical industry: Ghana to refine natural gas for its own power plants

The increasing utilization of oil and gas is creating processing opportunities in the petrochemical sector. In 2018 the Ghanaian government entered into an agreement with Russian gas supplier Rosneft for the importing of liquefied gas to serve its new thermal power plants. A regasification terminal will be built in the port of Tema. Investments will also be made in the areas of personal care and cosmetics. A number of regionally active manufacturers such as Ghandour have settled in Accra, supplying the growing beauty market with inexpensive products.

Electric power: Sector to be relieved of debt

A significant increase in business opportunities can be expected for the energy sector in the upcoming years. The expansion of electricity grids is a priority for the government. For several years now, Ghana has been relying predominantly on thermal energy for power generation. With almost US$500 million in donor aid from the US-based Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the electricity sector is slated to be relieved of debt and restructured. In addition, the national electricity supplier Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) will soon be strengthened by a management team from the Philippines.

Construction industry: A decline of private activities in Accra is on the horizon

Prospects for the construction sector are being viewed cautiously by most industry insiders. Private capital is flowing into the expansion of the ports in Tema and Takoradi and into power plants. The government, on the other hand, is short of money for infrastructure projects, leaving foreign donors to often finance a large part of the investments. Chinese construction companies in particular have come to Ghana via such projects. Much activity continues to occur in private building construction in Accra. However, the currently high vacancy rates of apartments, offices and shops are pointing to over-saturation.

Health care: Opportunities for the distribution of consumer goods

The business climate for medical technology sales in Ghana is favorable. The presence of suppliers is still weak, especially for medical consumer goods. Market share can be gained here with good customer relationships. State hospital capacities also have been increased in recent years, though there is currently no money available for further projects. On the other hand, funds from the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence are still flowing into new police and military hospitals. The private medical sector, concentrated on Accra, is expanding and is also involved in regular procurement.

Agriculture, forestry, fishery: Donors participate in “Planting for Food and Jobs”

Ghana’s agriculture has been stagnating for years despite the rising demand for food. Foreign investors are staying away, mainly due to the unclear legal situation regarding land ownership. Business opportunities regularly arise in development aid projects. Several donors are involved in the “Planting for Food and Jobs” project established by the government; under this project, seed, fertilizer and agricultural technology are distributed to farmers at reduced (subsidized) prices in order to support agricultural production.

Mining: Several existing gold mines are being expanded

After years of difficulty, Ghana’s gold mining industry has recently started to pick up once again. Several mines are making extensive expansion investments, and some mining companies are starting to mine underground to extend the life of their mines. Major projects include the Ahafo Mine expansion carried out by the American company Newmont, the expansion of the Wassa and Prestea underground mines by Goldstar and the “Project Five Million (P5M)” of the South African company Goldfields in its Asanko gold mine.

Oil & Gas: Aker Energy finds oil in Cape Three Points

The current precipitous rise in oil and gas production is making a massive contribution to economic growth in Ghana. In Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) and Sankofa, the concessionaires Tullow and Eni recently started production. The Jubilee oil field (Tullow) is also being expanded. There has been an increase in exploration activity as well: Norwegian firm Aker Energy is exploring its Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT-CTP) concession and plans to start production in 2021. In early 2018, ExxonMobil received an exploration license for its Deep Water Cape Three Points (DWCTP) oil field.

Water & Waste: Huge demand, but limited funds

The need for investment in Ghana’s water and sanitation sector is huge. A study published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 estimated necessary investments in water supply to be US$11.5 billion by 2025. Nonetheless, the funds are flowing rather slowly. In general, Ghanaian authorities are hoping for involvement by foreign donors. In the rapidly growing area of Accra-Temain in particular, extensive measures in drinking water supply and waste and sewage disposal are becoming increasingly urgent.

Food industry: Demand for food is growing rapidly

Rice, wheat, milk powder and chicken meat are already being imported in huge quantities, and the demand is expected to increase further, mainly due to the high population growth of about 600,000 annually. For local markets, which still dominate retail trade, products must be durable. Supermarkets, which are increasing their market share in cities, also sell imported products which require refrigeration, such as cheese, whipped cream, blueberries and tomatoes. According to industry experts, activities in the food processing industry have increased once again. Beverage producer Kasapreko is building a new factory in Kumasi. Coca-Cola, Unilever and Accra Breweries have recently announced modernization investments.

Automotive: Weak economy strengthens the second-hand car market

Nissan and Volkswagen are planning to assemble motor vehicles in Ghana; in 2018 they signed letters of intent with the Ghanaian government. Experts consider actual implementation to be uncertain, as the Ghanaian government would have to tighten restrictions on imports of used cars in return, and imported used cars dominate the market for motor vehicles. Thus, the market for new cars is small and has recently suffered from increasingly weak purchasing power.