1. Petroleum sector
Ghana is one of the new entrants to the league of commercial oil producers in the world. As a result, its oil & gas sector continue to attract investors from all over the world into either the down, mid or upstream sub-sectors.
Under the upstream sector, investors could look into the seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation, site surveying, provision of drilling and drilling products and services, production support services and reservoir engineering services.
These areas are ripe for investments and altogether make the upstream petroleum sector the best bet for petroleum sector investors.
With regards to the downstream, opportunities exist in the areas of marketing, storage, distribution, transport and refinery.
The country's only refinery, the Tema Oil Refinery is now in shambles, waiting for a facelift. In the gas sub-sector, opportunities exist in the areas of production, transmission and distribution of the natural gas.
Until 2009, when the services sector overtook the agricultural sector as the biggest contributor to gross domestic product, agriculture remained the bedrock of the country's economy, the accounting for over 60 of economic activities.
Things have, however, changed in recent times. That notwithstanding, the sector still remains a major driver of the Ghanaian economy, contributing about 21.3 per cent to GDP in 2013.
Growth in the sector has hovered between 7.4 per cent and 4.6 per cent over the last seven years, with 2011 recording the lowest annual growth rate of 0.8 per cent. With Ghana's yawning trade gap, immerse opportunities exist in this sector for investors with expertise in food production to I feeding the ever increasing population. Rice imports alone cost the country US$450 million annually. That adds to chicken, meat and dairy products, which have seen tremendous growths over the past few years.
Incentives for investors in the sector include tax holidays, spanning three to five for companies involved in agro processing. Companies engaged in the processing of waste products also enjoy a seven-year tax holiday, starting from the date of commercial production. The need to increased cultivation also means that opportunities abound for the irrigation services in the sector. Agricultural equipment hiring is also another area that beckons for investments. Similarly, inappropriate storage facilities contribute to high post-harvest losses and low returns for farmers and processors presents an opportunities for investors.
Currently, six world-renowned telecommunication companies operate in Ghana. The companies, tiGO, Vodafone, MTN, Airtel, Expresso and Surfline, are jostling for market share, which has been growing over the years.
In January, this year, the local regulator of the telecoms industry, the National Communication Authority, announced that mobile subscriber base had risen to 30.6 million, way above the national population of about 26 million people.
Of particular interest for investors in this sector is the internet sub-sector. Internet usage in Ghana rose from 20,000 people in 1990 to 3.5 million in 2011, confirming comments from telecom companies that data would derive growth in the sector. This presents immerse business opportunities for investors in the telecom sector. Equally mouth watery is the mobile money business. Currently, three of the companies, Airtel tiGO and MTN, provide mobile money services on their platforms. Response to the service has been great and growth has recorded double digit rates since if was first pioneered. Because formal banking is still a preserve of the privileged few, mobile money has come in handy and it should be expected to continue on bullish run over the next few years.
4. Financial services (banks and other financial institutions)
In Ghana financial services is big business. Operators in the sector are grouped into three; the banking and finance comprising the universal commercial banks, non-bank financial institutions and forex bureaus, the insurance companies, which includes insurers and reinsurers and the brokers as well as the capital market, made up of the stock market, brokers, among others. Activa International Insurance was recognized as the fastest growing insurance company in Ghana.
Because of the oil discovery, consistent economic growth and increased FDIs, the financial sector has become a place of interest for investors given the critical role it is expected to play in the growth of the economy.
Investors wishing to tap into that potential are also guaranteed some incentives, which include tax rebates.
Investment to deliver infrastructure is very viable and this shows how investment into construction hasn’t been consumed yet indicating how the construction of Ghana’s infrastructure is not yet complete. The construction sector in Ghana is expanding rapidly with a recent 20% growth in 2011 making it the second largest contributor to the National GDP in that financial year. With the booming real estate industry and high demand for infrastructure development, Ghana provides a wide range of possibilities for companies entering the market. Most non-emergency government contracts for road construction are open to both local and international companies through a process of competitive bidding. There are many smaller local companies that would also be seeking partnership for financial assistance, equipment and training.
Key market opportunities in Ghana’s construction sector are dominated by residential and commercial real estate development.
The residential market is the most active, registering an estimated 85,000 transactions per annum over the past decade. Ghana’s housing deficit is currently hitting the one million mark with its annual housing requirement of about 130,000 units outstripping its supply of about 45,000 units. Property development will maintain its healthy growth and forward progress. The construction and building industry will continue to drive the economy.
6. Technology & Software
The upsurge of the service industries: telcoms, banks, insurance, financial services etc. has made high technology software and big data to be in high demand from corporations.
The services sector has expanded substantially over the last ten years, characterized by branch expansion and increased capitalization as institutions move to meet growing demand for consumer services across the country. This is due to the continued economic growth, foreign investment, increasing diversification and a number of large investments in both the private and public sectors in Ghana.
For instance, New technologies are helping to drive a wave of innovation across the banking services sector as banks create new and accessible banking channels and take banking services to previously unbanked parts of society. New products and a growing customer base translate to increased pressure on banks to manage and secure their data. By the nature of their business, financial firms are required to store immense amounts of data under incredibly strict compliance with a number of regulators.
Ghana is now shifting to the era of Big Data with multinationals like IBM and Hewlett-Packard taking opportunity of these findings. Banks, telcoms and financial institutions in Ghana are all shifting to Big Data as client’s sensitive big data needs continues to increase and the amount of data continues to grow at an exponential rate to reflect the growth in the sector. Industry statistics estimate that banks in our markets spend between 7-10 percent of their operating income on managing data.
Electricity accounts for 69 per cent of modern energy used in the economy. Electricity generation and distribution is largely state owned. However, the Government of Ghana has in recent times engaged in discussions with various investors regarding the construction of power plants. This is important because the country is going through its worst power crisis to date.
Ghana loses about two per cent to five per cent of GDP annually as a result of lost economic output due to the insufficient and unreliable power supply. There is therefore huge demand for investors in this sector. One of the leading engineering companies in the sector is Wilkins Engineering.
American multinational conglomerate, General Electric (GE) has already realized this opportunity and is currently building a 1000-megawatt (MW) thermal power plant in Ghana. The GE initiative is a pure independent power producer (IPP) which means GE will finance the deal. The deal was signed on January 28, 2015 and it is a US$1 billion deal.
Significant mining investment has been attracted into the country over some 20 years of stable multi-party democracy. The mining sector has therefore been an important part of Ghana’s economy, with gold accounting for over 90% of the sector. The mining sector has produced 4,313,190 ounces of gold, which is the highest ever in the history of the country, resulting in export revenues of more than US$5.6 billion. Ghana is the second largest gold producer in Africa and the 9th largest producer in the world. The sector directly contributed 38.3% of Ghana’s total corporate tax earnings, 27.6% of government revenue and 6% GDP in 2011.This has included the development of a database on goods & services required by the mining industry; Investing in gold mining and services provides a huge opportunity Inventories of iron, limestone, kaolin, salt, diamond and other industrial mineral resources exist, but are not exploited on a large scale. This also presents an opportunity for investors.
Ghana is seen by travelers as one of the friendliest countries in Africa. Ghana is endowed with interesting tourist attractions, ranging from the warm sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast to rich tropical forests and unique wildlife. There are also cultural attractions such as handicrafts, traditional clothes (e.g. Kente), local cuisines, and several colorful festivals organized throughout the year. The country is also known for its historical European-built forts and castles that played a major part in the transatlantic slave trade. Opportunities abound in the setting up of resorts and hotels along these areas. Ghana is also one of the West African countries never affected by the Ebola disease. Moreover, it is easily accessible from various parts of the world.
The pharmaceutical industry in Ghana continues to outperform markets in the sub-region, despite the fact that the country imports majority of its drugs, a survey report by the Business Monitor International (BMI) a marketing research company has said.
According to the report, Ghana’s headline expenditure projections for pharmaceuticals would rise from GH¢480 million or US$311 million in 2011 to GH¢572 million or US$319 million in 2012; an increase of more than 19.1 per cent in local currency terms and more than 2.6 per cent in US dollar terms.
Assessing the pharmaceuticals industry’s risk and reward ratings, the BMI report indicated that Ghana’s score was stable, remaining in 18th position among the 30 key markets in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) surveyed in its first quarter 2013 of the pharmaceutical risk/reward ratings (RRR) matrix.
In February 2010, Adcock Ingram, a giant in the South African Pharmaceutical Industry invested over US$16 million by acquiring a 60 per cent stake in the Ghanaian owned publicly listed Ayrton Drugs, a partnership that analysts strongly predicted would be mutually beneficial to both companies which has currently made both partners a fortune due to the increasing demand for pharmaceutical drugs.