Rates of Progress of IT in Ghana
Even with the challenges the country faces in establishing infrastructure, the positive influence of internet coverage in Ghana shows in rates taken from 2016.
- Over 18 different service providers offer easy access to the internet all over Ghana, Including BusyInternet, Africanus.net, and Africa Online.
- 2,900,000 of the worlds’ Facebook users live in Ghana
- 28.4 percent of the population has access to the internet as of 2016, opposed to a mere .2 percent in 2000.
- However, 7,958,675 users as of 2016 means 20,074,700 still live without internet access.
Community-Influenced Tech Hubs
“Developers in Vogue” provides a haven for Ghanaian women pursuing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. As the gender disparity in STEM studies favors men and stimulates misconceptions about women in the workplace in Ghana, “Developers in Vogue” combats gender preconceptions on one level and lack of opportunity on another. Their aim to inspire social impact through technology and problem-solve by using real-life cases from their communities works to connect women with jobs after course completion. Visit their website for info.
Another company, Hopin Academy in Tamale, Ghana, works towards supporting students by connecting them to the courses most appropriate for their interests and skills. Relying on peer-to-peer development and local innovators to problem-solve for the community, the tech hub connects Ghanaians from different backgrounds to practical niches in the local job market. For more examples of community-oriented tech hubs, click here.
Companies Partnering with Ghana Tech Hubs
As Christoph Fitih, Sales Director for Africa branch of Parallel Wireless states, “African countries need to adopt new technologies to prevent further marginalization of Africa from the world economy and eliminate the widening of the current digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world.”
Businesses in Ghana understand the time is ripe to create an online presence, and even necessary as the world market starts to move more and more toward internet users. MEST, a Pan-African organization partnering with global tech giants, offers aspiring entrepreneurs a rigorous, fully sponsored 12-month program to top-graduates in several African countries including Ghana. Training includes business, communications and software development as well as hands-on project work, giving graduates the chance to pitch their final idea to the board and receive seed funding for their entrepreneurship. Academics and teachers from all over the world bring their experience to the company. To learn more, visit MEST’s website.
More internet coverage in Ghana means tech companies such as Hubtel and Rancard have become Pan-African brands, and according to Nana Prempeh, co-founder and CEO of Asoriba Ghana has “great strengths when it comes to the tech ecosystem. MEST has been a strong backbone of the community… The government has also recently shown great interest in the space by building the Accra digital centre.”
Other global companies partnering with Ghana’s many startups and tech hubs include:
- Google, which built the first Artificial Intelligence lab in Africa in Ghana.
- Canada World Youth and Youth Challenge International, through EQWIP HUBs which provide training, resources, and support for Ghanaian youth with employment, entrepreneurship, and skills.
- Amazon Web Services, Engineers Without Borders, and Microsoft, partnering through organization MEST.
- Samsung, through MEST, and many others.
Issues Ghana Faces
A CNN article observing the unique challenges and potential of broadening internet coverage in Ghana states “Ghana is the future of Africa,” perhaps literally and figuratively. Ghana’s comparatively stable electricity, security and internet infrastructure exists in spite of the series of damaging military coups it went through before 1981.
Even though fewer than 1 percent of African retail sales are made online, traffic congestion and demand for Western goods has boosted numbers recently. E-commerce will sky-rocket in Africa, according to the technology review “Ghana’s Last Mile” by Jonathan Rosen. He hopes issues with unpaved roads and confusing street-labeling will be overcome through the same spirit of innovation which is already sweeping the nation.
Broader internet coverage in Ghana brightens its future in tech and the online market. There are obstacles of infrastructure to be overcome and yet great hope for keeping up with world-wide tech hubs. Perhaps its name, roughly derived from the words meaning “Warrior King,” gives a glimpse of the spirit of the country. Investment from giants like Google and Amazon Web Services spearhead the beginning of partnerships with corporations all over the globe, as other companies begin to take notice of Ghana’s local hubs and competitive training. Most encouraging is seeing the hands-on training of MEST addressing communities and providing a stream of trained tech-students into the job market.