ACCRA, Ghana- Over the past 20 years, Ghana has made significant strides in poverty reduction. In the past decade, the country’s gross domestic product has grown between four percent to eight percent each year and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. The country’s rapidly growing and somewhat underestimated technology market helps demonstrate why the country will likely continue to succeed in upcoming years.
Ghana, through its several schools offering intensive training in software programming and business development, produces world-class software engineers and businesses. The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) is a post-graduate school in Ghana that offers university graduates a two-year course on software programming and business development. MEST provides its students with housing, transportation, meals and a laptop, all free of cost. In return, the school expects its students to dedicate two years of full-time study to the program.
This type of program, which generates top-notch innovation, is crucial to the development of Ghana. Nonetheless, although the country produces some of the best and brightest members of the tech industry, the country’s persistent poverty may be holding it back.
Ghana, with a population of approximately 25 million, has a poverty rate of 28 percent, according to Feed the Future. As a result, Ghana educators are often forced to teach information technology (IT) in classrooms that do not have electricity or computers. Yet despite Ghana’s less-than-ideal environment, its tech entrepreneurs continue to thrive, leading some to believe that the country could be home to the next Google.
In fact, Ghana already has several examples success stories concerning members of its tech industry. Leti Arts is a company that operates on the ground floor of a partially residential building, yet creates games and apps in an attempt to teach a younger audience African history and folklore in a modern way. The company is already generating its own revenue by building technology, which it licenses to other companies, as well as selling some of its apps to mobile device users.
Robotics innovator Ben Nortley is another shining example of what Ghana can do in spite of its limitations. Although there is virtually no robotics teaching in Ghana, Nortley believes if he can teach Ghana’s youth how to write code, tech businesses in Ghana could flourish. In the advancement of his vision, Nortley is going to present a new television show, aimed at teaching children how to build robots from scrap.
The efforts of Leti Arts and Nortley are just a few examples of the growing technology market in Ghana. Businesses and investors should thus keep an eye on Ghana’s tech market, which could eventually help reduce the country’s poverty rate and stabilize its economy.
– Cavarrio Carter