The Cost of Living in Ghana

cost of living in Ghana
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The Cost of Living in Ghana

Why should we explore the cost of living in Ghana? Times are changing. With the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the world saw an unprecedented turn of events. For many of us, this means closing down of important travel destination and resulted in our travel plans absolutely disrupted. But with every border closed and every potential destination put under smart lockdown, there are multiple other destinations that have come forth to our attention, ones which are not usually thought about. Many have also started planning out the place they want to spend the rest of their lives at, once the pandemic subsides. After all, life is too short so better now than never.

With or without the pandemic, however, before deciding where you would be flying off for partying or permanently settling, there are some important questions that you need to ask yourself. Where would you be going? Why are you going there? Is it something different from where you live? Does the cost benefit analysis justify traveling to this destination? How much would it cost to spend a week at a particular place? Is it suitable for permanently settling down?

You may find these questions to be fairly odd, considering that you hardly ponder over them while booking your tickets at for Dubai, Paris, New York or even London. There is a pre-conceived thought in your mind that the developed nations of the world are ideal locations to relax and spend quality time, but frankly speaking, there’s more to life than fancy hotels, gleaming skyscrapers or even renowned amusement parks. You need to consider all these livability factors when travelling with settling for good on your mind. There is only so much time you can spend exploring shopping malls or skyscrapers, the accessibility and affordability of important facilities is the real deal.

cost of living in Ghana
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With that being said, some of you may not be aware but there’s a massive rise in the tourism industry for Africa as a whole. In 2018, a massive total of approximately 67 million tourists visited that continent, marking a stark rise in the percentage increase of almost 7% from the previous year. Consequently, it leap-frogged most of the other continents, only to be second after the Asia Pacific, bestowing them the right to be called the second-fastest-growing region in terms of tourism. This wasn’t an overnight change and was a result of their flexibility to make amends in policies coupled with the massive surge in investment for this sector.

For Ethiopia, another African state, the success of “Ethiopian Airlines” accompanied by their relative relaxation of visa restrictions had enabled them to transform their city, Addis, into the regional transport hub at the expense of Dubai, who held this power for numerous years.

However, today, we won’t be focusing on the numerous countries existing on the African Continent. For this particular article, the emphasis would be laid on the African State called “Ghana” and if you were to visit it, what would be the relative cost of living there with all the luxuries and comforts you enjoy at your own soil? We would be providing you with an estimate regarding all of the expenditures you would be expected to pay for and for the estimates, we would use the local Ghanaian currency known as the Ghanaian Cedi.

cost of living in Ghana - Ghanaian Cedi
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For reference (at the time of this writing), 1 Ghanaian Cedi equates to $0.17 United States Dollar.

Some of us have an assumption that African countries aren’t that expensive and generally the cost of living is fairly reasonable. However, the cost of living is fairly high for those who set foot on Ghanaian soils for the first time. According to a survey conducted in 2019, where more than 200 cities were included, the Mercer Cost of Living Survey concluded that Ghana’s capital Accra ranked as the 63rd most expensive destination to live from the pool of cities they had surveyed.

Cost of Living in Ghana: Living Costs

Firstly, since our focus revolves around the living cost, it’s pivotal that we begin with ‘rent’ as the tool of analysis. Unsurprisingly, accommodation is fairly high in Ghana and this expense would, in particular, act as the major burden on the pocket of a person living there. The main reason for this dilemma is the fact that the growing Ghanaian economy invites foreign companies to establish their offices in the city-center of Accra. Therefore, a stark difference can be observed between the accommodation cost between living near the city center and away from it.

  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre     837.50 ₵        
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 4,047.74 ₵      

To sum up this issue, we would be applying the principles of ‘Supply and Demand’, commonly taught in economics. Since there are many foreigners in the capital, there is a high level of demand for quality construction with the aim of staying near the city for an easier approach to offices. However, the supply is not up to the rate of demand and there is a shortage of quality construction which automatically inflates the prices to ensure that rent remains a headache for anyone living in Ghana.

  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre    2,912.13 ₵
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre          11,191.71 ₵

Spending ₵98 for an internet package of 8 Mbps for each month may prove to be slightly shocking for most as its relatively expensive considering the global rates of the internet. However, the bitter truth is that the relatively underdeveloped nature of communications technology is the main cause for the reasonably high cost of internet, telephone line rental, mobile phone tariffs, etc. Nevertheless, it’s important to highlight that Ghana is a developing nation and economy, therefore, there’s a glimmer of hope that in the near future, prices would drop to some extent as technological advancement is slowly engulfing the nation residing on the African continent.

According to numerous accounts, which we have read online, many people have voiced their concern that the public transport of Ghana is generally unreliable and chaotic. You wouldn’t want to be exploring a new country and generally be unpunctual about most matters, right?

Therefore, while the local transportation is relatively cheap (One-way Ticket 4.25 ₵), you may want to seek the services of a rental company where they provide you with a driver and a car according to your demands and standards. Moreover, the cars being sold aren’t overpriced and you can easily afford a decent and economical Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) for a sum of around 50,000.00 ₵.

You can argue that the cost of purchasing a new car is fairly high in comparison with the prospect of hiring a rental car, the fact remains that in comparison to other countries, and Ghana has fairly attractive rates when it comes to transportation.

Cost of Living in Ghana: Food and Grocery Items

Let’s now approach the expense which everyone eagerly looks out for, and which is essential to our very existence. The cost of food. For all the foodies out there, you can satisfy all of your cravings and your taste buds without having to worry about the opportunity cost. Isn’t that the best news? Don’t know about the rest but having to experience the diverse cuisines of a foreign nation excites us.

Would you be more interested in a meal from McDonald’s or any other international food chain or a local restaurant to quench your thirst for fine dining? A regular meal at McDonald’s for a Big Mac is expected to cost ₵35. At the same time, a meal at a local restaurant would prove to be slightly cheaper. If you intend on taking your significant other half on a date or a fancy dinner, where the aroma and atmosphere of the place add to your romance and have a proper three-course meal to make it special, your pocket would only have to spend around 150 to 200 (Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course (160.00 ₵)).

Moreover, if you are someone who’s passionate about cooking meals for themselves and generally avoid meals from outside, you will be surprised to hear that most of the vegetable and everyday needs of cooking too are within the reach of most people mainly due to the extensive agriculture practiced all over the country.

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter)                 11.17 ₵
  • A loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)                 6.08 ₵
  • Rice (white), (1kg)                 10.97 ₵
  • Eggs (regular) (12)                 11.28 ₵
  • Local Cheese (1kg)                 52.00 ₵
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg)                 21.07 ₵
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)                 26.10 ₵
  • Apples (1kg)                 14.45 ₵
  • Banana (1kg)                 10.49 ₵
  • Oranges (1kg)                 9.96 ₵
  • Tomato (1kg)                 15.96 ₵
  • Potato (1kg)                 13.06 ₵
  • Onion (1kg)                 10.10 ₵
  • Lettuce (1 head)                 5.76 ₵

On the other hand, opportunities for seeking entertainment in Ghana are fairly restrained by the financial burdens they pose for people. If you are planning on watching the latest Mission Impossible where Tom Cruise saves the world from yet another disaster (not Corona), it’s better to tell Mr. Cruise that you won’t be there at the front row of the premier as you have other places to use your money. With that being said, going to the Cinema in Ghana is not recommended as they charge a hefty fee, especially for international movies (Cinema, International Release, and 1 Seat for 42.50 ₵).

The prices would vary with the seat selection and other things taken into account. Nevertheless, it’s important to conclude that unless there’s a promotion or a special discount on offer, you should turn away from the movies before Emilia Clarke or even Brad Pitt compels you to walk straight into an economic deathtrap. Nevertheless, if you are a movie fanatic, and have ample money, don’t let money stop you from attaining personal satisfaction.

Cost of Living in Ghana: Education

Ghanaian education
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Quality education is a want for every human who aims to leave the upcoming generation with better tools to face the world and achieve what they couldn’t. There are several problems associated with the education system in Ghana. Firstly, outside the capital, most schools tend to use their local languages as a medium for instruction regardless of the fact that “English” is the national language of the country.

This creates a shortage of quality schools that can match the international standards of other schools around the globe. While the local schools are fairly cheaper in monetary terms, they aren’t the preferred destinations for most Ghanaians. Secondly, with the influx of foreign companies and offices, many people tend to settle here and look at the elite schools of the capital as the ideal platform for their children to acquire education from.

Therefore, the limited school providing quality education tend to charge considerably high fee. Again, the economic theory of demand and supply can be utilized to explain this dilemma as there are too many students but very few schools.

  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child        32,230.25 ₵   

Moreover, due to the lack of educational facilities, students prefer moving abroad for higher education. In light of all these points, we suggest that if you are coming to this country with an employer, it’s better to negotiate children’s education as a perk of the job so you are relieved of this massive burden on your budget.

Pretty sure that after the pandemic, everyone must be cautious of the healthcare facilities and the costs associated with hospitals and treatments. Luckily, Ghana offers quality medical facilities at very nominal rates. Accompanied by the introduction of a National Healthcare Insurance Scheme, healthcare would hardly pose a headache to your limited budget.

As soon as you land, it’s recommended to rush to a nearby insurance office and entitle yourself to an insurance that covers most of the potential risks. Nevertheless, people have been fairly vocal regarding their preference for private healthcare and tend to visit private doctors who cost on average ₵205 for a one time visit of nearly fifteen minutes.

Cost of Living in Ghana: Clothing

ghanaian fashion
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Finally, it’s time to talk about clothing. If you are a person who’s fairly concerned with following the fashion prevailing around the globe, this would tend to pose a problem as international clothing is no way near the reach of every person. Be it a shoe from Nike or a shirt from Marks and Spencer, international brands are very expensive in comparison to local producers. You may not get to see such a trend in a country like UAE or USA but the bitter truth is that prices are fairly inflated.

  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 or Similar) 135.45 ₵        
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, Mango Fashion, etc…)       137.00 ₵        
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)    260.00 ₵        
  • 1 Pair of Leather Business Shoes 367.69 ₵

Therefore, as a person who isn’t deeply cautious about brands and extravagant clothing, it’s advisable to opt for local brands or even be on the lookout for seasonal sales to save your coins for some other useful cause. After a thorough analysis of the prevailing costs of the commodities and utilities being sold in the Ghanaian markets, there is a key point to be understood. The situation of this country is similar to any country on the verge of economic development.

Ghana fashion
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Conclusion

cost of living in Ghana
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Several years ago, Ghana was not exposed to the luxuries being enjoyed globally and had to mostly rely on the resources they grew for themselves as the sole source of satisfying their needs and wants. We can argue that this was a result of the civil war but there are many other reasons for the condition. Now, with international investors increasing their interest and focus on the African state, the inflation being experienced these days is a result of economic development. I hope that after reading through this, you will have learned a thing or two about the cost of living in Ghana.

With the passage of time, the infrastructure and services would improve, ensuring that the prices do stabilize with little disparity between locally produced and foreign goods. The government needs to focus on developing other cities apart from the capital to ensure the rent dilemma is also subdued, but until then, you have all the information you need to make Ghana your home.

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