Private Wealth Management and Foreign Direct Investment in Ghana

Did you know private wealth managers help open doors for international investors? The question is: what is Private Wealth Management? Private Wealth Management incorporates financial planning, portfolio management, and other aggregated financial services for individuals to solve or enhance clients’ financial goals as high-net-worth individuals often lack the time or ability to manage their own finances.

It is interesting to observe how Private Wealth Management is becoming increasingly popular in helping plan and facilitate retirement or illness, reduce taxes and unnecessary spending, growth, and preservation of wealth with tailored solutions. 

Wealth advisers mostly work on a fee basis and help create investment mandates that reflect client objectives and risk tolerance — charging clients a percentage of the assets under management – which reduces conflicts of interest. 

In Africa, managing wealth is being utilized as a tool for ensuring a legacy for future generations.  However, in some cases African families, and for that matter Ghanaian families, are behind on this compared to families in the west.

A Growing Business Opportunity

Africa’s fast-growing population and markets present important opportunities for businesses in an environment of slowing global growth. At the same time, greater innovation and investment from businesses is essential to meet Africa’s unfulfilled demand for goods and services, close the gaps in its infrastructure, create jobs, and decrease poverty.

As the Brookings Institution details, more than 400 companies earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more —and are, on average, both faster growing and more profitable than their global peers. An AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth’s 2019 Africa Wealth Report details how the total wealth in Africa over the past decade has increased by 14 percent.  Notably, there are twenty-three billionaires living in Africa, and about 42 percent of total wealth in Africa is held by 140,000 high net-worth individuals, defined as those with assets of at least $1 million.

The Council on Foreign Relations provides, that there is significant potential for businesses to play a transformative role in solving the continent’s biggest challenges – and Ghana’s wealth managers are increasingly doing just that. 

 

The New Rich: Africa’s Wealth Management Boom

John-Paul Iwuoha explains how Africa’s new rich are not just excited about money but also passionate about creating value in the lives of others. Where the bulk of Africa’s “old school” millionaires made their money from resource extraction, Africa’s new wave of entrepreneurs are more interested in creative problem solving. Many of these entrepreneurs are focused on Crowdfarming, Waste, Drones, Affordable Housing, Automotives, Local Products for Export, Startup Funding, Fintech, Low-cost private schools, Urban logistics, and Healthcare services

Africa’s new generation of millionaires see that helping to solve the continent’s problems will help unlock wealth, jobs, and prosperity for the continent. With the help of well-informed wealth managers, Africa’s millionaires will be rewarded by the continent’s opportunity to make a lot of money, while doing a lot of good at the same time. 

I find it appropriate to make a special mention of my good friend Dr. Suzy Aku Puplampu, the CEO and Lead Wealth Manager of OctaneDC Limited for her dedication to this sector. It is in the context of wealth creation that we take a closer look at foreign direct investments with emphasis on the leading FDI destinations on the African continent.

Ghana Among Africa’s Top FDI Destinations

Ghana is now one of the most attractive African destinations for foreign investors – thanks to a strong and stable democracy – as well as years of seeking to create a favourable local environment for those investors via institutions focused on sustaining a strong business environment. Notably, over the course of the last several decades – the country has gradually put in place a legal framework to protect and encourage investment.

Current FDI Figures for Ghana

As the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2020 details – foreign investment into Ghana in 2019 reached $38.5 Million USD.  As the report details – mining and oil exploration are the main sectors in Ghana attracting foreign investment.  Ghana regularly holds investment summits like the Ghana Investment Summit — to further solidify its’ position as West Africa’s hub for foreign investors.

At present, China maintains the highest number of investment projects in the country, followed by India, the UK, South Africa, Turkey, Mauritania, and France.

 

Attractiveness of Foreign Investment in Ghana

Several factors make Ghana attractive for foreign investors.  For example, Ghanaian authorities continually seek to simplify the complexity associated with foreign investment into the country – while also offering sizeable tax incentives to foreign investors.

Ghana’s stable democracy, economic stability, large middle class consumer base, large and inexpensive labour force, large agricultural base, abundant natural resources, comparatively well-developed infrastructure, stable institutions, status as a regional business hub for West Africa, a strong stock market, and 100% foreign investor ownership rights — make the country uniquely appealing.

Foreign Investors in Ghana Face Some Challenges

Foreign investors will face some issues that can be effectively navigated with knowledgeable legal and strategic counsel.  They include cumbersome bureaucracy, difficulty in obtaining financing, some instances of corruption, unemployment, complicated property laws, inconsistent infrastructure development, occasional energy supply cuts, unskilled labour, and instances of weak productivity.

Specific Rules Governing Foreign Investors in Ghana

There are some specific rules for foreign investors in Ghana which are worth keeping note of by anyone interested in investing in the country:

  • A reduced corporate tax rate of 8% is available to companies engaged in non-traditional exports. A 20% rate applies to financial institutions on incomes from loans to farms and leasing companies.
  • Free Trade Zone companies are exempted from paying corporate tax for 10 years. They then pay 15% on export sales.
  • Manufacturing companies located outside Accra and Tema receive a tax rebate: 75% of the corporate tax rate of 25% – in regional capitals. And elsewhere — it is 50% of the standard rate.
  • Tax holidays accrue to companies from time of operation – in agriculture, waste processing, rural banking, and venture capital (which pays a 1% corporate tax for periods ranging from 5 to 10 years)
  • On income generated for low-cost housing, a 1% corporate tax applies for 5 years.
  • Entrepreneurs under 35 receive a 5-year corporate tax holiday for specific businesses, and further rebates after the initial 5 years.
  • No corporate taxes apply to private universities if they reinvest 100% of their profits into university operations.
  • Employers receive an additional tax deduction of between 10% and 50% for employing recent graduates.
  • Foreign investors can maintain 100% ownership and cannot have their interests expropriated, pursuant to the Ghanaian constitution and as a signatory to the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Convention.
  • Foreign investors must be registered with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)
  • Investments in real estate, oil and gas, mining, insurance, and telecommunications must receive specific authorizations.
  • Registration and renewal fees for foreign oil and gas service providers apply.

A Bright Future: Ghana’s Government is Focused on Investment Reform

Ghana’s Government announced in 2019 a plan to implement ten reforms to help attract greater foreign investment.  These reforms include a streamlined tax, legal and business registration process, digital issuance of business and construction permits, power sector improvement, economic diversification, and a simplification of investment procedures.

Sources:

  • santandertrade.com 
  • cqlegal.net
  • unctad.org 

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