Here in Tekedia, we like to make predictions. And we do that with data understanding that we have audience that comes to read our perspectives trusting we take everything serious. That said, we want to write that Accra will blossom as a global tech innovation hub within this decade. Nairobi has accomplished that today especially in the mobile app development.
It is known that some of the best global iconic brands are opening offices in Nairobi partly to tap into the massive pool of talents in the mobile ecosystem. Kenya is the place where it is happening. We think Accra is on its way to that stardom!
Lagos was supposed to have been great but the nation has not been kind. With no electricity and poor infrastructure, it remains very challenging to execute good ideas around the nation. Johannesburg has been a power house in the continent. Yet, they are not far away from Nairobi. Actually, Nairobi leads all African cities in mobile though Johannesburg has no comparison when it comes to enterprise software and solutions.
Now back to Accra, we have seen some great ideas emanating from the city. Ghana has the best universities in West Africa now. Most top Nigerian moguls send their kids to Ghana as the U.S. embassy fails these days with visas. The business environment in Ghana has improved and they have the rule of law behind them as many perceive Ghana as being highly better managed than Nigeria. That is the perception even by most U.S. businessmen. It is why most are pushing to Ghana to open offices despite the obvious advantages in Nigeria.
Ghana has some good emerging startups courtesy of the Meltwater Foundation that has transformed the city of Accra into an incubation hub. An example is ClaimSync that helps to bring efficiency into patient management and medical claim submission processes. By providing an electronic medium for health providers to submit scheme claims to health insurance companies, ClaimSync eliminates manual data entry and associated problems, and leads to better patient management by the health provider. This is a growth business and they have shown they have the capacity to execute.
Now comes Streemio which was founded in January 2010 by Samuel Owusu Darko and Francis Mawuli Ahose. They have since received seed funding from Meltwater Foundation. The duo hopes to build a business on music streaming. We are not necessarily excited about that one though. Yes, Spotify, Pandora, etc are big guys in this. The challenge is that this is not the business for Africa! Also do not forget that Ghana has its Groupon clone, Dealeezy. Dealeezy hopes to make deals available at local level. There are other companies like Retail Tower, Leti Games, NandiMobile, Tutamee, Saya Mobile and more. These are great ideas and Accra is on the map.
We see high optimism for Ghana. Yet that does not mean the country will not have challenges. The Internet access is still limited. This was captured in a post by Clair MacDougal:
However, Ghana and Africa as a whole are still lagging far behind other nations and regions in terms of Internet usage and access. The continent only has an Internet penetration rate of 11.4%, compared with the world average of 30.2%, according to Internet World Stats. Ghana is well below the African average, with 5.2% penetration. But telecommunications companies such as Vodafone Group PLC , South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd. and Glo are expanding Internet service in Ghana. It may be just in time: Almost 40% of the population is under age 15.
As Africa works to join the league of other advanced nations in creating technology, we need to get the policy right. What Kenya did to incubate Nairobi as the hub of mobile must be studied and tried across the continent. Accra has an opportunity and we hope the government assists to make that come to reality as the young talents in Accra and other cities are ready to unleash their entrepreneurial energy on the market. Accra will make it within this decade – the signs are very visible.