Welcome to 2013

It is no secret that Ghana is a shining light on the African continent.  In recent years, Ghana has seen repeated economic growth and cultural success.  From the business arena to the sports grounds of Accra, 2013 looks to develop this growth even further.


So just what can you expect from Ghana in 2013?


As an international visitor, you will be able to hop on a new airline and visit other countries in the region for less than previously imagined.  Fastjet, a new African company based on the European model of low-cost airlines, took to the skies in November 2012.  With a Tanzanian base in Dar es Salaam, Fastjet will be adding an operation centre in Accra later in the year.  This will help with connections to Nairobi, Luanda, and Entebbe, not to mention dozens of other African centres.  International visitors can link up with Ghana’s new domestic airline to reach remote areas of the country, or simply soak in the capital city experience.


It depends, of course, on the reason for travel.  Once again, Accra is set to host several international conferences.  Everything from the ISQua conference for healthcare professionals in February and the West African Microfinance Conference in March, to the Africa Mining Investment Development Summit in July will be hosted at various venues throughout the capital.


And conferencing is only the beginning of business opportunities in the country.  The energy, construction, and services sectors will continue to garner new and increased investments from both local and international sources.  In 2013, Ghana is expected to beat the African economic growth average for the sixth year.  And, according to Sampson Akligoh, the Head of Research at Databank Financial Services Limited in Accra, the cedi will settle at 2.01 to the dollar by the end of the year.


Already in the country?


Chances are you will catch the football fever that will last until the World Cup next year.  Ghana has its collective heart set on winning the African Cup of Nations which begins on 19 January.  Although this tournament is set in South Africa, you can expect just about every restaurant and bar in Accra to screen the Black Stars in their quest to bring home the trophy for the first time since 1982.  In March, June and September, Ghana will face off against Sudan, Lesotho and Zambia in the qualifying rounds for the 2014 World Cup.


What will change on the ground?


Ghana is looking to improve its agricultural and ecological processes.  For the first time in three decades, an agricultural census will be taken.  This will determine the organisational structure of agriculture production and provide statistical information aimed at forecasting for the future.  Funding by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was granted in September 2013.  Other, smaller steps are being taken to alleviate Ghana’s impact on the environment, with the long discussed importation ban on second hand appliances in effect from the first of this year.


And from the President?


President John Dramani Mahama has a tremendous year ahead of him.  He will officially be sworn into office for the upcoming term on 7 January.  His short stay in office, following the death of President Mills in the middle of 2012, means he has a head start on the educational and economic reforms promised during campaign season.  In addition to his own agenda, the President has been called to update the systems of state institutions.  What will be first on his to do list?  That is anyone’s guess.  But, no matter how you dice it, Ghana will be a busy place in 2013.



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