Manufacturing firms in Ghana: comparing the 1987 and 2003 censuses.


This paper presents a comparison of the 1987 and 2003 censuses of manufacturing firms in Ghana. The study shows that the number of firms increased from 8,000 in 1987 to 26,000 in 2003. However, the increases were predominantly amongst small-sized firms which more than tripled, and medium-sized firms that doubled. Large firms remained about the same in number but firms employing 500 persons and more actually contracted from 52 to 40. With regards to wage levels in the manufacturing sector, the findings from the two censuses indicate that wages in large firms, thus those employing more than 100, more than doubled for all categories of workers between 1987 and 2003. Average wage per employee per month in large firms rose from US$53 in 1987 to US$139 in 2003. For medium sized firms, those employing from 10 to 100 employees, the increase was much less, from US$38 in 1987 to US$56 in 2003, a 47 per cent increase. There were very substantial increases in labour productivity measured both by output per employee and value-added per employee. For large firms average value-added per employee increased 4 times from US$4,024 to US$16, 900 while for medium sized firms it increased by nearly 3 times, from US$2,000 to US$5,400. A breakdown by sector and by size shows that these very large increases in productivity occurred generally across the Ghanaian manufacturing sector. The factors that explain this change in the size distribution and increased productivity will form the next stage of the project.


CSAE (2009) Mimeo, CSAE, Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford, UK, 22 pp.

Manufacturing firms in Ghana: comparing the 1987 and 2003 censuses.

Published 1 January 2009