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What regulations govern foreigners doing business in Ghana?

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A commercial fair that a Nigerian had prepared in Accra on May 1, 2023, was ruined when many members of the Makola Wig Sellers’ Association entered the venue to try to stop the sales.

Because the Nigerian was offering lower prices, the group contended that her sales posed a threat to their business.

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However, there are a variety of perspectives on the issue of whether the market women’s behaviour was appropriate.

But if foreigners want to own retail businesses in Ghana, they must abide by the following legal requirements.

According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 2013 (Act 865) a non-citizen may operate a trading business if they invest at least $1,000,000 USD in cash, goods, or services related to the investments in the business.

In accordance with Section 28(3) of Act 865, “trading” also refers to the buying and selling of products and services that have been imported. The requirement that at least twenty (20) skilled Ghanaians work for the foreign enterprise is another requirement placed by Section 28(4) on foreign businesses planning to engage in trading.

Act 865’s Section 27(1) essentially outlines the types of operations in which foreign investors are not allowed to invest or participate. This is not an exhaustive list. Other laws contain clauses pertaining to things that Ghanaians can only do. These activities include small commerce, hawking, or the sale of goods at a stall anywhere. They also include the sale of goods or the supply of services in a market. Other actions that non-citizens are not allowed to take include:

• the operation of a taxi or automobile rental service by a business with a fleet of fewer than 25 vehicles

• running a barbershop or a beauty parlour

• the production of recharge scratch cards for use by telecom users.

• the manufacture of schoolbooks and other essential stationery

• the sale of medicinal items at retail stores

• the manufacture and sale of sachet water.

In the meantime, breaking these laws is illegal.

Act 865’s Section 40 lists a number of offences. A person violates a provision of Act 865 if, among other things, they rent out a stall or store at a market to a foreigner or do something else that is against the law.

This clause has the result that anyone who participates in retail trade while not being a citizen of Ghana and does not have the minimum capital required to do so as stated in Section 28 of Act 865 is breaking the law. Act 865 is violated by anyone, Ghanaian or not, who rents a stand or a store in a market to a foreigner.

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