”As with most countries, there will be a large variance in the cost of living between locations and between styles of life.
Accommodation in Accra is the most expensive. Some development agencies provide a rent allowance of $3,000 for a house or apartment per month and it is not enough. Of course you can live cheaper if you are young, healthy, flexible and do not need to have the Western style of life. If you don’t mind living without aircon, without electricity for significant parts of the day, in a neighbourhood where there is going to be some noise and dust, no official security etc, you can live relatively cheaply. Another strategy would be to share accommodation with others, dividing the rent of a three bed apartment in three would mean that you will pay about $1,200 per month each. Unfortunately, landlords now demand at least one year rent in advance. And certain living costs are high – electricity has gone up by 75% recently and you may have to pay for water to be trucked to your place during the dry season. Also, you may have to pay extra for diesel for the backup generator too.
Transport in Accra – there is virtually no public transport in the Western sense. Instead, there are taxis (min costs for foreigners is going to be $2.50 and a trip of a few kilometers will be at least $5 – $8). The cheaper option is traveling by Tro Tro. These are old vans from Europe which are shipped to Ghana when they no longer can pass the safety and emissions tests in Europe. They travel predetermined routes. Cost is from about 25 Cents but you are really squashed in and it can be difficult to find out where the Tro Tro you are on meets the Tro Tro route that you need to change to so as to make your next change etc etc. Again, this is for the young and healthy as you are going to be so squashed in that you will get whatever airborn infection anyone else has in the van and the diesel fumes from the van and the other vehicles will not be enjoyable. But look on the bright side – with so much pollution, the mosquitoes cannot survive!
For those who are not so young and will be working in Accra, they invariably get their own vehicle. It is perfectly possible for a foreigner to drive in Accra although one has to learn the special “rules” that one is sometimes presented with by the police (such as passing through a traffic light on orange is an offence!) and one has to pay an unofficial fine. The longer you have been in town, the lower the fine as you learn to negotiate.
Walking and cycling is not very easy in Accra as many of the streets have a narrow drainage channel along the side of the roadway and no pavement. Cycling and motorbike riding is really very dangerous on the streets of Accra – this is the reason why few attempt it.
Food in Accra: Local food is cheaper. But my experience is that it is never going to be as cheap as in some other countries. You have to be quite careful with food, especially uncooked foods, because of various diseases. I used to be carefree about food in Accra until I got typhoid.
For most Westerners, the lack of greens in the local diet can be a difficulty. I either prepare all uncooked food at home where I use a chlorine solution to wash and soak all fruit and salad stuff or I eat in places where they follow this regime. Otherwise I eat only cooked food when I am out.
Going out in Accra: there are very few pubs or bars in Accra as the local taste tends to be for restaurants. lounges and discos at the higher end and drinking spots (local drinking place) and chop bars at the lower end. You will pay a minimum of about $1 at the very cheap places (and this price may be higher now as I generally do not frequent those places) up to $5 or more for imported beers.
All in all, Africa is expensive, especially for foreigners. And since Ghana is now an oil state, this means that all the stuff that foreigners like will be bid up in price by the number of highly paid expat engineers and specialists. Too many well-paid foreigners chasing too few houses and apartments causes rents to be very high.”
”Accra has a high cost of living for the majority of residents. This is spearheaded by a huge shortage of affordable real estate accommodations. Though infrastructure has improved Accra still needs the government to play a more proactive role in ensuring, roads, highways, waterways and electricity is provided at affordable levels and maintained…which means taxes will have to be enforced and collected. This presents another huge problem as the bribe system seems to still be in effect.”
A banker named Richmond Larbie told Xinhua that the additional one Ghana cedi (about 13 U.S. cents) paid fare every trip along that corridor had a ripple impact on his cost of living. Larbie commutes daily between the capital Accra and the eastern port city Tema.
“The cost of living has grown due to greater transportation costs and has affected the overall standard of living since there is no equivalent growth in incomes to make up for the increasing fares and higher pricing of basic products and services,” Larbie added.
The increasing cost of transportation and the price of commodities, according to secondhand clothing merchant Vivian Braimah, have crippled enterprises and reduced trader revenues.
With my three children, their transportation fees, food subsidies, and other charges have all risen, and families can’t even enjoy three square meals a day, Braimah said Xinhua. “Things are considerably more tough for parents with children of school-going age.”
Braimah encouraged the government to enact some measures to relieve the citizens’ suffering and difficulties a little.
Commercial bus drivers still need to ask for additional rate hikes to keep up with the consistently rising cost of fuel despite the clamor from Ghanaians.
Urban residents, many of whom change buses at least thrice a day before arriving at their destinations, face a severe scenario.
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