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HOW TO Guide

How To before moving to Ghana


 

WELCOME  TO  GHANA !

Well, not yet!

 

 

 HANDLING PREPARATIONS

AHEAD OF MOVING TO GHANA 

 

 

Now that the decision is taken, the work contract signed,
it is time to plan and handle the multitude of things that need to be taken care of before boarding your plane to Accra.

 

 

Ghana Entry Requirements

Money
Vaccinations 

Valuables

Calling Ghana
Accommodation
Voltage and plugs 
Taking your laptop
Other item, including toiletries

 

 

 

Ghana Entry Requirements

Please see the "How To with visa and other non-resident immigration matters" page.  
 

Money

If your company or organization will not supply you with advances in Ghana Cedis, there are many ways for you to handle your cash needs in Ghana.This country is still widely a cash economy and although cheque books are issued with current accounts, it is difficult to have them accepted.

 

Our advice is to bring cash that you can easily change (as you need as the Ghana Cedi keeps falling) and keep in your office or deposit in your new bank account. You will then be able to wire money later. The best cash currency to use is the US$ but the euro is now widely accepted and other major currencies may be changed as well. You can see an exchange rate table on the righ side of all website pages.

 

Should you not carry cash or want to open a bank account in Ghana, you may withdraw cash from the ATM’s of major banks with a Visa, Mastercard or ATM card. Consult with your bank to find out whether your ATM card will work overseas (Plus and/or Cirrus networks are large and economical). Check fees as well. It is wise to bring more than one card.

 

Considering that travelers’ cheques are mostly for tourists, uneasy to cash in Ghana, give lower rates than cash and that security is good, we advice to reduce the amount you will bring in that form or avoid them all together. In any case, to avoid additional exchange rate charges, we advised to take travelers’ checks in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

 

If planning to rent a house or apartment, be aware that a one-year advance payment is generally required. See the Residential Rentals guide of the real estate section. 

You may want to read the "How To change and bank" page.

Vaccinations
Please see the vaccinations chapter of the "How To with health" page.

 

Valuables

Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas (and travelers’ checks). Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home. You should also scan them and load the files on your web-based email account so you can retrieve them from any connected computer and print copies. A lost or stolen passport will be re-issued faster if you present a copy along with the police report.

Until you are fully settled in Ghana in a secure place, you may want to leave expensive watches and jewelry as well as electronic equipment behind and bring them on your first trip home. Also, your office or company's safe might be a more secure place than your home and a good place to keep valuables. 

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, use quality luggage and locks.

Calling Ghana
The country code is 233. Local numbers start with 0 - for example, 0302 xxx xxx for a landline in Accra or 0543 xxx xxx for a mobile number but the zero is not used when calling Ghana from abroad.

Accommodation search

accraexpat.com offersa established real estate services to international organisations, embassies, foreign companies and individuals. Through our unique network of partners (selected established professionals - agents, property managers, etc.), our clients access the largest selection of ready-to-move-in properties of international standards, including for short-stays. See a selection in the dedicated “Real Estate section” (with an extensive Residential Rentals guide) or simply email requirements to homesearch@accraexpat.com. You can also access all our relocation services.

Voltage and plugs

Voltage in Ghana is 220/240 volts like in Europe (110/120 volts in North America). Most laptop power adapters (and camera battery chargers) can convert voltage from 110-240 volts to power your computer. Any other electrical equipment using 110/120 should be dual voltage, have a switch or you will need a “step down” voltage converter.

Plugs in Ghana are the same as used in Great Britain (large 3 pin - type G) so you will probably need an adapter to plug your laptop into the power outlet. They can be found in Ghana but ensure to buy quality products. Some adapters will accepts many types (USA, Europe, etc.).

The power grid is unreliable in many developing countries: there are instances in Accra where a serious voltage surge has blown up all home equipments at once (fan, fridge, etc). A surge protector is therefore a must to save both your power adapter and your computer in case of a power surge. You may buy single protectors but a solution can solve three problems at once – power surges and plug issues – by buying an extension cord that accept different types of plugs and include voltage surge protection.
The ultimate solution adds power for quite some minutes: a UPS. All these items are easily found, for example on Oxford Street in Osu where several electronic and computer shops are located. In general, watch for the maximum load capacity and, avoid the numerous bad quality extension cords (and plug adapters) that can be found on street sides and unprofessional shops.

Note about TV's brought from the USA
You will need different transformers for standard electrics or electronics for TV, etc.
For example, fans will be fine if the electricity fluctuates, but the TV will die, hence the different types of transformers.
A Member relocating to Ghana from the USA did buy: power Bright VC transformer 100watt step up/down ($16 from Amazon at the time) for electricity and Orei XD-1090 Premium 1080p HDMI PAL to NTSE video convertor ($70 from Amazon at the time).


Taking your laptop
Your laptop may be(come) you most faithful companion overseas. This companionship is not without challenges and bringing your computer along is also a significant liability. Prepare yourself and your computer for the challenges that await you both.

Let s review the common threats you computer may face in Ghana: Internet access, power surges and cuts, loss of data, theft, climate factors, damage from higher wear and tear, repair and replacement issues, etc.

Data safety
Make backup copies of all your important files, and then delete from your computer everything that is unnecessary, as well as sensitive information that you do not need overseas. The best is to save everything on two external hard disks, one that will stay in your home country and one that you will take along and keep in a secure space. You can then regularly save new data on it. In addition to portable external drives, you can also back up files to a secure online data storage service, such as Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Ibackup, and Evault.com, among others. You can also leave your important files at home and retrieve them through remote access by connecting to your home computer via your home IP address. All you need to do is configure your home computer to allow remote access and set up a user name and password to access it from anywhere in the world. Check your computer’s manual and help function to find out the details about how to connect to your computer remotely.

Software
If you plan to access the Internet with your laptop, you need to make sure that you have the latest security software installed as well as a firewall. Both will help to prevent unwanted intrusions from outside computers, adware and spyware. Make sure that you have set your security software to update automatically so it will download whenever you connect to the Internet.Bring a backup CD of the operating system, as well as backups of important software that you use. Bringing a repair CD from which you can start up your computer is also a good addition, in case you have hard disk problems. Norton Utilities and Techtool Pro (Macintosh only) are just a few of the companies offering disk repair and file backup software. These programs can perform scheduled hard disk checks and back up vital file information, in case you need to restore your hard disk.

Battery time
With power supply unreliable all over Ghana, bringing an extra battery is a good way to ensure that you can put in the working hours you need or have a spare ready in case the existing battery fails from heavy use (your laptop will not always be plugged to power). Keep in mind that older batteries can suddenly loose charge and you don’t want to be stranded without a working battery so make sure that the battery is in good working condition. Changing your laptop’s power settings (power options in Control Panel) to extend battery life will help as well. As most expatriates, you probably are a frequent flyer, so these precautions will also let you work/play while flying to and back from Accra and when travelling for work in West Africa or whatever your area of responsibilities may be. Being able to make full use of downtime while waiting at airports is nice too.

Breakdowns
Although Ghana is developed IT wise, there are still a few computer manufacturers which are not represented here. Consider that if you plan to buy a computer before moving here. You might find someone able to repair it but it won’t be someone trained by that brand.Talking about new computers and considering that, in Ghana, selection in shops is limited and prices higher, moving there may be the right opportunity to buy a new laptop. You will then avoid being in a position where your older computer breaks down and having no choice but buying in Ghana.

Security
Bringing a laptop lock can help secure your computer in your hotel room, and may deter theft, but it is not a surefire guarantee.

You may want to see the “How to with Internet and Computers” page.

Other items, including toiletries
Toiletries with a good range of brands and items can be found easily but bring your own unless you are ready to switch brands. Prices may also be higher than at home. In general, it is best to bring everything you like and need for personal hygiene and care.

When considering what to bring to Ghana, you may want to include personal items that will make your new apartment/house feel like home and specific items that may be hard to find in Accra or be more expensive.
In general, although one can find a lot in Ghana, there will be issues of difficulty in finding things as far as high quality, variety, availablility and price.
Choices when packing will depend on the type of shipping method you will use and the volume available to you. Should you bring a container and have a confirmed posting lenght, do not hesitate to load it with goods (considering expiry dates).

Here are some ideas:
Beach toys and equipment
Outdoor clothing and gear
All clothing you will need, including underwear
Sun glasses and strong sunscreen
Camera and flash attachments. Specialized batteries might not be readily available
Favorite games, hobby materials, puzzles, darts, etc.
Presents (birthdays, Christmas, etc.), especially for children, like toys (quality of toys found in Ghana is low) even if you don't have small children
Holiday items such as Christmas tree decorations, etc
Notions (elastic, good quality spread for personal and tailors use, special batons, shoe laces, zippers, etc.)
Pictures, calendar, posters (walls are concrete, bring appropriate hooks for hanging items on masonry and tile)
Family snapshots
Blankets - light weight: have you heard of A/C comforters?
Extra prescription glasses/ lenses and related supplies
Favorite knick-knacks and foodstuff (imported food is available but at a premium, except wine)
Good coffee
Specific small appliances.
Medicines (including mosquito sprays, foot powder and fungus meds), especially for children (those found in Ghana are generally not flavored or sweetened).
Books for all in the family.

This list was written in part with the help of Lincoln Community School.

Once settled, one may wish to see the recommended stores in the "How To with home furnishings and more" page.



More subjects related to preparing your move to Ghana will be added.

Done? Departure day is here?

 You can now read “How to when I step down the plane” page.
May be the day comes when Internet connection in planes will be common,
so you will be able to do that while flying to Accra!

You feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated.

Kinldy write to feedback@accraexpat.com.



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