Expats moving to Ghana will find that financial matters in this West African destination aren't as overly complicated as one might initially expect. Managing banking, money and taxes in Ghana is effortless once new arrivals have opened an account, and tax laws are straightforward.

Moreover, Ghana's economic landscape is burgeoning with opportunities, especially in sectors like oil and gas, telecommunications and real estate, which attract a considerable number of expats. The country's financial system is fairly modernised with a stable banking sector, making financial transitions for expats smoother. Ghana also boasts a reasonable cost of living compared to many Western countries, allowing expats to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

Money in Ghana

The Ghanaian currency is the Cedi (GHS), divided into 100 pesewas (Gp).

  • Notes: 1 GHS, 2 GHS, 5 GHS, 10 GHS, 20 GHS, 50 GHS, 100 GHS and 200 GHS
  • Coins: 1Gp, 5Gp, 10Gp, 20Gp, 50Gp, 1 GHS and 2 GHS

Banking in Ghana

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All banks in Ghana do business in English, the country's official language. Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered and Stanbic are all international banks that are represented in Ghana and are recommended for expats. Internet, telephone and cellphone banking are also available as banks strive to compete locally and internationally and provide support and services online.

Banking hours in Ghana are Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30 or 5pm, although some banks close earlier on Fridays and others are open on Saturday till noon.

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account is the best way to access and deal with money in Ghana. To open a bank account in Ghana, most establishments require that expats show their passports as identification. Necessary documents vary across banks, but will likely include:

  • Passport or other valid identification
  • Proof of address (utility bill or rental agreement)
  • Work permit and residence permit
  • Two passport-sized photos

Some may require expats to submit a letter of introduction from a bank in their home country, a reference from their employer in Ghana, and proof of residence.

Credit cards and ATMs

ATMs are readily available in Ghanaian cities, and most international credit cards are accepted at these machines. Credit card penetration in Ghana is low, with less than 1 percent of the population owning one, debit cards are used more widely.

Ghana is a predominantly cash-based society, and the prevalence of credit card fraud makes it unwise to use cards too liberally. Credit card and ATM facilities are also quite rare in rural areas of Ghana, and some retailers only accept cash to avoid vendor charges, so it's wise to always carry some cash.

Taxes in Ghana

Foreigners living in Ghana for 183 days or more over 12 months are considered residents of the country and must pay taxes based on their worldwide income. Taxes in Ghana are charged on a graduated scale, while non-residents are charged a flat rate on their income derived from within the country.

Ghana has double-taxation agreements with several other countries, including South Africa, Italy and the United Kingdom. In such cases, expats may be entitled to relief from double taxation on income, generally including salary, dividends, interest, royalties and capital gains.

Expats should refer to the Ghana Revenue Authority website and consult a financial adviser and tax specialist to ensure they fully understand taxes in Ghana.

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