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Focus on Ghana

VitalStatistics

Population: 24,652,402
Monetary unit: Ghanaian cedi
Capital city: Accra
Major languages: Asante 14.8%, Ewe 12.7%, Fante 9.9%, Boron (Brong) 4.6%, Dagomba 4.3%, Dangme 4.3%, Dagarte (Dagaba) 3.7%, Akyem 3.4%, Ga 3.4%, Akuapem 2.9%, other (includes English (official)) 36.1% (2000 census)
Major religions: Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1% (2000 census)
Ethnic composition: Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%, Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census)
Age breakdown: 0-14 years: 38.9%, 15-64 years: 57.1%, 65 years and over: 4%
Life expectancy: male: 60.22 years, female: 62.73 years
Education: 5.4% of GDP (2005)
Urban/Rural split: urban: 51% , rural: 49%
Income per household (USD):
Broadband internet users (%):

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

Rich in natural resources, benefitting from a quarter of a century of sound economic management, and boosted by the 2010 opening of the Jubilee offshore oilfield, the Ghanaian economy is in good health. GDP grew by 4% in 2009, 7.7% in 2010, and 13.6% in 2011. 

Consequently, the PR industry in Ghana has seen significant progress in recent years.  The Institute of Public Relations now has around 1200 members. Yet, there is still some way  to go before it is comparable to PR markets in Western Europe and North America, with agency directors pointing out that only around half of those members are active, and that there is still much work to be done to introduce  widespread best professional practice.

Kwabena Kugblenu, programme manager at Junior Achievement (JA) Ghana, a global organisation that aims to introduce students to the world of work, says: “Our PR industry is young but growing. For it to grow in the right direction, PR professionals need proper regulation, and businesspeople throughout Ghana need education on the importance of PR.”

Media

Ghana's media is one of the freest in Africa, and there is a host of print and broadcast outlets. Important daily newspapers include privately-owned The Ghanaian Chronicle and Daily Guide as well as the state-owned The Ghanaian Times. Weeklies include The Mirror and The Herald.

In terms of broadcast, the state-run Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) operates Ghana TV and news channel GBC 24. The government also has a stake in Metro TV. Private stations include TV3 and Viasat1.

However, for all the print titles and television stations, radio is still the most important medium, especially among the remote rural population. The GBC broadcasts Radio 1 in English and Ghanaian vernaculars. Then there is Adom FM, Peace FMD, Joy FM, Choice FM, Space FM, Gold FM and Happy FM.

Yet many PR professionals believe that in Ghana PR is about more than the media. Stephen May, Project Manager - Stakeholder Engagement at AngloGold Ashanti (AGA), the world’s third largest gold mining company says: “The PR approach in general is very different in Ghana to the other markets I have been based in over the years like the UK, France and Hong Kong. Here it is much less about media relations and much more about engaging directly with people.”

He explains: “It is not necessarily the case that everyone you are trying to reach has access to the print media, let alone the digital and social media that so many people have recently been talking about. Our focus is on programmes that reach multiple audiences, ranging from government ministers to host communities in the mining areas. Traditional media relations is just the tip of the iceberg.”


Major Brands

As in many other developing markets, telecoms companies like MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana and Airtel Ghana, are important, as are FMCG brands like Guinness Ghana and Coca-Cola Ghana.

Government body Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is a well known brand, and in recent years mining companies like AGA and Newmont Ghana have worked hard to build links with communities.

Aid organisations and charities are also active in building their reputations. For 

example, in June of this year Junior Achievement (JA) Ghana gained extensive coverage when it partnered with prominent local brands Nokia, Coca Cola Equatorial Africa Limited, Promasidor, Woodin, DHL and the British Council to run the third national JA Company of the Year competition. Students from 20 schools ran a trade fair, gave business presentations in an attempt to convince judges of their entrepreneurial wits.

Agencies

Kugblenu at JA Ghana says: “Reputation management is big business in Ghana, but some organisations view PR as nothing more than propaganda. This holds them back from engaging with professional agencies that would add significant value to their operations and their reputations.”

Key agencies are: Global Media Alliance, INFOCUSPR, Jeap & Associates, Conduah & Associates, Strategic Communications Africa, adLines Consult, Medialynks Agency, and Telemedia.

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