With the showdown in Bata still goalless at the end of 120 minutes, Ghana appeared in the box seat to add to their four AFCON titles, only to surrender a two-goal lead in the shootout as Ivory Coast triumphed thanks to goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.
Barry saved the penalty of opposite number Brimah Razak before stepping up to convert the winning kick for Ivory Coast's second AFCON trophy.
Not much had been expected of Ghana in Equatorial Guinea following a disgraceful World Cup campaign in Brazil last year that saw off-field issues surrounding the suspension of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, as well as a dispute over appearance fees, blight their time in South America.
But Ghana defied the odds to reach their ninth final, much to the delight of Grant.
"I'm so proud of my team and they always make me happy," Grant told reporters post-match.
"To reach the final is a big achievement. The players have shown a lot of good things at this tournament.
"We were the better side against a team that has some of the best players around. It was down to penalties and the opponent scored one more than us.
"Every Ghanaian can be proud of this team."
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan, who was substituted prior to the shootout, said he was sad but still buoyed about the team's future prospects.
"Being outside, I had to support my colleagues. We were leading 2-0 and Ivory Coast came back and they won. We had an edge to win but that's football," Gyan said.
"I don't regret our performance. Ivory Coast have lost twice on penalties [2006 and 2012] and this was their third time and they won it. I'm sad at the moment. We lost today but it's not over yet."
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