Ghana is an important U.S. agricultural export market and offers expanding market opportunities due to its remarkable record of economic growth as well as its liberal import policies. Ghana’s estimated population of 23.4 million is growing at approximately 2.7 percent annually. Also, the Government of Ghana (GOG) is positioning Ghana as the gateway to the larger West African market (250 million people).
Ghana’s agricultural sector is largely subsistence-based, and employs over 60 percent of the population and contributes about 37 percent of GDP. The agricultural sector growth estimate for 2008 is 5 percent, up from 4.3 in 2007 due to improved rainfall during the year. Ghana’s agriculture consists of 80 percent crop production, 10 percent livestock, poultry and fishery production, and 10 percent forestry. Domestically produced food products that are traditionally consumed in Ghana include cereals, (corn, rice, sorghum), tubers (cassava), and other local fruits and vegetables. Despite some growth in the agriculture sector, Ghana remains a major importer of agricultural food products, including bulk commodities (rice and wheat) and consumer-ready food products such as poultry. There is a high demand for imported food products, especially consumer ready products, due to limited selection of products provided by the underdeveloped domestic agricultural and food processing sector in Ghana. The leading suppliers of intermediate and processed products to Ghana are EU, Asia and South Africa. U.S. exporters are advised to explore entering the expanding Ghanaian market and U.S. agribusiness firms interested in doing business in Ghana can seek assistance of the USDA/FAS office in Accra to develop business relationships with local companies, importers, and agents.
Ghana operates a relatively free market, and most tariffs are low. Ghana has stated its commitment to the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) which it adopted in 2005 but has not started implementing yet. In July 2005, Ghana aligned its tariff rates of 0%, 5%, 10%, and 20% with those of the ECOWAS, but requested for type B exemptions for some items, until the end of the transitional period, 2006-2007. However, full implementation has still not commenced. Although Ghana has been slow to take full advantage of the enhanced market access offered under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), it is increasing efforts in this area. Ghana was the second country (after Cote d’Ivoire), to sign a bilateral EPA-light with the EU. The implementation of this agreement would eliminate tariffs on virtually all of the Ghana’s exports to Europe and on 80 percent of imports from the EU over the next 15 years.