The Government recognizes private investment to be the leading stimulus for economic growth. Accordingly, the legal framework regulating activities in the sector has been revised so that the granting of benefits and incentives is largely automatic. Interest in this area has been rekindled through the effort of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).
Ghana is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank, which provides virtual international insurance coverage for investors in developing countries to reduce risks. The Government has also entered into bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with a number of States to give further protection to their nationals wishing to invest in Ghana.
An entrepreneur, irrespective of nationality, can set up a business enterprise in Ghana within the confines of existing laws. A foreign investor may team up with a Ghanaian entrepreneur or company for a joint venture, usually in the form of a partnership or a limited company. However, under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 1994 (Act 478), a minimum equity capital of US$10,000 is required from any foreign investor who intends to enter into a joint venture partnership with a Ghanaian in any area of economic activity, except trading.
In trading, the minimum equity capital requirement is US$300,000. The foreign shareholder is required to satisfy this minimum equity capital either in cash transferred through Ghana’s banking system or its equivalent in the form of goods, plant and machinery, vehicles or other tangible assets imported specially and exclusively to establish the enterprise.
Foreigners are permitted 100-per-cent ownership of an enterprise provided the investor satisfies section 19 (2b) of the GIPC Act, 1994 (Act 478). Wholly foreign-owned enterprises must have a minimum paid up capital (the equivalent of US$50,000) in all areas of economic activity except import trading, where the minimum equity capital requirement is US$300,000. In the case of export trading and liaison (external) offices, there is no minimum foreign equity requirement.
The Investment Promotion Centre Act is under review and presently before Cabinet for consideration.