Tribal Traditions and Customs

Typical Concerns:
  • What is the impact of Customary (Tribal) Law in Ghana and how extensive is it?
  • How do I understand more concerning traditional (tribal) customs?
  • Who can assist my business with traditional (tribal) issues?
  • Know Impact
About 80% of the land ownership is traditional (tribal) ownership. Tribes have broad powers from the national government to administer customary (tribal) law. Chiefs have much greater influence in Rural Ghana than in the major cities. In Rural Ghana chiefs and tribes are the governing force in everyday life. Traditional leaders (Chiefs etc.) have statutory functions for the collection, refinement, codification, and unification of customary (tribal) laws; adjudication in chieftaincy disputes; compilation of lines of succession in the various traditional offices; and appointment of representation to the various government statutory bodies. Non Statutory responsibilities include: settlement of disputes (including land disputes) through arbitration and acting as linkages between their communities and development agencies.
  • Understand Customs
Understanding tribal customs will begin with understanding the language. Many of the traditional leaders refuse to communicate in English. You should select a consultant familiar with language and customs in doing business.
  • Who Can Assist?
It is paramount that a business has a reliable consultant in working with traditional leaders. Traditional attorneys or Chambers of Commerce may be of assistance in providing referrals. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration can be helpful in locating traditional (tribal) leaders.  Chambers of Commerce in Ghana can be very helpful with finding the right consultants.  The House of Chiefs may also be a useful reference. Traditional leaders have broad abilities to negotiate business transactions. Each tribe will have its own language and customs. All tribes will have great reverence for the chief.
Helpful Resources:

Industry Specialists

Click to view organizations that offer assistance.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce (Ghana)
American Chamber of Commerce - Ghana
CommerceGhana Personal Assistant