Facts and Statistics
Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo
Climate: tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
Population: 23,382,848 (July 2008 est.)
Ethnic Make-up: Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census)
Religions: Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1% (2000 census)
Government: constitutional democracy
Language in Ghana
Different sources give different figures for the number of languages of Ghana. This is because of different classifications of varieties as either languages or dialects.
As with many ex-colonies in Africa, the official language of Ghana is the colonial language, English. Nine languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: Akan, Dagaare/Wale, Dagbane, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema. However, two dialects of Akan, Twi and Fante, although not government-sponsored, are also widely-spoken in Ghana.
Hausa is widely used as a lingua franca by Muslims in Ghana.
Society and Culture
There are over 100 ethnic groups living in Ghana. The largest are Akan, Moshi-Dagbani, Ewe, and Ga. The Ashanti tribe of the Akan are the largest tribe and one of the few societies in West Africa where lineage is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. Once famous for the luxury and wealth of their rulers, they are now more well known for their craftwork such as hand-carved stools, fertility dolls, and ‘kente’ cloth. Kente cloth is made cotton and is woven in bright, narrow strips with complex patterns.
Family is a very strong bond in Ghana and is the primary source of identity, loyalty and responsibility. Family obligations take precedence over pretty much everything else in life. Individuals achieve recognition and social standing through their extended family.
An interesting cultural variation among the Akan, or Ashanti and Fanti people, is that affiliation within the clan is through women. Mothers have a higher status as in their point of view people get their blood from mothers.
It is important for Ghanaians to maintain dignity, honour, and a good reputation. The entire family shares any loss of honour, which makes the culture a collective one. In order to protect this sense of face there is a need to maintain a sense of harmony; people will act with decorum at all times to ensure they do not cause anyone embarrassment.
Ghanaian society is hierarchical. People are respected because of their age, experience, wealth and/or position. Older people are viewed as wise and are granted respect. In a group one can always see preferential treatment for the eldest member present. With respect comes responsibility and people expect the most senior person to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.
Etiquette and Customs in Ghana
Gift Giving Etiquettee
Business Etiquette and Protocol
Meeting and Greeting
Ghanaians are more indirect communicators. This means they take care not to relay information in any way that could cause issues, whether that be giving someone bad news, turning down an invitation, refusing a request or any other such matter. Ghanaians always want to protect their own and others’ face as well as maintain harmonious relationships.
As a result they tend to use proverbs, wise sayings, analogies readily. This allows ideas or messages to be convened in a manner that does not seem so blatant. In fact people who are viewed as wise frequently speak in proverbs.
Silence is a common means of communication. If someone is uncomfortable with a question or do not think the asker will appreciate response, they will say nothing rather than make the other person uncomfortable.
Initial meetings are really all about finding out about one another and if a personality fit allows for future, more business specific meetings. One should therefore expect to spend quite a good deal of time in relationship and rapport building. Do not be surprised is business is not really discussed much at all.
First meetings may also tend to be a little more stiff and formal although once a rapport has been built this will soon dissipate. It is important to maintain a polite and somewhat reserved demeanour.
Hierarchy is respected so the most senior person is greeted first. He/she may be the spokesperson for the group or may deputise key stakeholders to speak.
Ghanaians have a keen sense of humour and enjoy telling jokes. However until you have understood their sense of humour it is best to refrain from telling jokes yourself. If a Ghanaian teases you take it good-naturedly. For the most part, this shows they are becoming more relaxed with you.
Being a Manager in Ghana
The business set up in Ghana is very hierarchical and intercultural success is more likely if you remember to be formal and courteous at all times. Older people and those in senior positions should be deferred to and treated with utmost respect. Ghanaians prefer to deal with those they know; therefore, they spend a great deal of time getting to know their business associates. Do not rush this process.
The Ghanaian business style is to avoid "hard sell" techniques and maintain a courteous demeanor at all times.
The Role of a Manager
Cross cultural management needs to bear in mind that each person has a very distinct role within the organization, and maintaining that role helps to keep order. People believe that their supervisors have been chosen because they have more experience and greater knowledge than those they manage, and it is, therefore, unnecessary, and even inappropriate for them to consult with lower-ranking individuals when decision-making.
In Ghana, as in other hierarchical societies, managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude to their employees. They may demonstrate a concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace and strictly professional concerns. This may include involvement in their family, housing, health, and other practical life issues.
Approach to Change
Ghana’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. Ghana is seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk and the need to thoroughly examine the potential negative implications. While in risk-tolerant environments, failure is perceived as a learning process that encourages confidence in future ventures, failure in Ghana causes a long-term loss of confidence by the individual as well as by others. Because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required, especially when conducting group meetings and discussing contributions made my participating individuals.
Approach to Time and Priorities
Ghana is a moderate time culture and typically and there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines. Nevertheless, the expectations of intercultural expansion and globalization have caused the Ghanaians to adopt relatively strict standards of adhering to schedules.
When working with people from Ghana, it’s advisable to reinforce the importance of the agreed-upon deadlines and how that may affect the rest of the organization.
Business is relatively hierarchical. Managers do not seek a consensus before making decisions. In fact, decisions are often made at the top of the company. Managers tell subordinates what they want done and how they expect them to perform the task.
Intercultural sensitivity is necessary and it is important never to chastise or criticize an employee publicly. When providing criticism, even under the guise of helpfulness, understand that employees are not comfortable with the concept of constructive criticism.
Boss or Team Player
People from Ghana like working in teams and collaborate quite well across hierarchical lines. The communication within a team is generally quite collegial, albeit somewhat direct and blunt. Role allocation within the team is generally quite clearly defined and people will take greater responsibility for their specific task than for the group as a whole.
Successful cross cultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies. The leader will be deferred to as the final authority in any decisions that are made, but they do not dominate the discussion or generation of ideas.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Companies are hierarchical. Ultimate decision-making often rests with the CEO.
Decisions are reached slowly. If you try to rush things, you will give offense and risk your business relationship. Getting decisions from government officials can be even more protracted.
Intercultural adaptability is essential. Ghanaians have a difficult time disagreeing, so do not assume that things are going well simply because no one is challenging what you say. Avoid showing anger. Controlling your temper is imperative in this culture. Ghanaians often request last minute concessions at the close of negotiations.
Links and Resources about Ghana
* Currency - the currency of Ghana is the Cedi (GHC). Use the free currency converter to compare to USD, GBP or Euro.
* Weather - visit Yahoo!'s up to date Weather for Ghana.
* Dialling Code - the international dialling code is +233.
* Time – Ghana is the same as GMT.
information provided by www.kwintessential.co.uk