There are some signs that Ghana's retail sector-concentrated in and around the capital city of Accra-is moving beyond the beginning stages of contemporary development to a somewhat more sophisticated level.
On November 9, 2005, the Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra) carried a long piece focused on protection from foreign competition for the country's indigenous businesses. The principal worry expressed by traders and association executives quoted in the piece was that the Ghanian market was being "invaded" by foreign investors intent on establishing a retail presence in the country. The concern is that better capitalized companies would be potent competition for local retailers and that there would be a serious loss of business to these foreign competitors.
Most of the concern is directed at potential competition from China.
The situation is somewhat similar to what is happening in India where small retailers dominate the retail sector and have the political influence to block foreign investment.
The Chronicle's story cites several provisions in Ghanian law that prohibit foreign competition in sub-sectors of the industry.
Partnerships, though, with local retailers are permitted.
This provokes two observations about Ghanian retail. The first is that the retail sector shows enough promise to attract notice by foreign investors. The second is that Ghanian retailers themselves have a growing sense that they do, in fact, have something to lose.
Is there statistical evidence of this?
The graph on page 1 does hint at more genuine consumer activity in the market. The scale of the graph is divided so the two series plotted can be shown together.
The bottom yellow line plots the annual percentage change in per capita income from 1999 through 2005 using International Monetary Fund...