Ghana News

A Look at Why Ghana Is Attracting IT Firms

Twitter
Twitter

Ghana has the continent’s second-highest data penetration rate, the continent’s fastest-growing mobile money market, and a burgeoning tech start-up scene. As a result, information and communication technology (ICT) is one of the most diverse sectors of the economy. Recognizing the industry’s potential, the government has increased efforts to boost business activity and pave the way for the deployment of 4G and 5G technologies. The 5G rollout is a welcome move by gamers who want to enjoy playing online casino games at the fastest speeds.

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The Ghanaian social media fraternity got overjoyed earlier this month when Twitter, the popular American social networking site, revealed it would open its first African office in Ghana.

The latest development was described by President Nana Akufo-Addo as “excellent news.”

Ghana was chosen because of its democratic credentials and support for free expression and online freedoms, according to a Twitter post.

Twitter has opened an office in Ghana, joining Google and other tech companies.

But why are top IT firms such as Twitter preferring West Africa over other African countries?

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s minister of communications and digitalization, says the country has set high market standards in addition to good governance.

“We’re the envy and the toast of many countries around the world. We hold ourselves to high standards,” she said. “The pull factor with Twitter here [is] if their business thrives, other global tech giants will also say Ghana is not such a bad place to locate your business on the continent after all.”

According to Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Study, Ghana had 14.7 million internet users in January 2020, with internet usage accounting for 48 percent of the country’s population. Ghana has a social media user base of six million people. It also ranks among the continent’s highest gamers, with Betway as one of the top casino brands.

Foster Akugri, the executive director of the international non-profit Hacklab Foundation, says Ghana’s appeal to tech giants isn’t just about the numbers. The companies, he said, are aware that the African Continental Free Trade Area’s secretariat is based in Accra.

“The gateway to Africa is Ghana. So, for Twitter to have chosen Ghana, I believe it’s very strategic. As a multinational I believe you want to be closer to where the decisions are made,” he said.

In the meantime, Twitter is hiring in Ghana, including engineering and marketing roles.

All of this has inspired Ghanaians to strive for another first on the continent in order to provide the nation with more opportunities and growth.

Outlook

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The rapid growth of mobile data penetration and mobile money platforms has had a transformative impact on the Ghanaian economy, increasing financial inclusion and opening up new avenues for businesses to grow and sell their goods. There are increased opportunities across several sectors, for example, betting companies like Betway are experiencing a boom. 

These platforms have also provided new opportunities for start-ups, allowing them to introduce a variety of creative products to the market. The government recognizes that information and communication technology (ICT) is a key driver of economic growth and has attempted to tap into its potential through the digitization of government services, as well as the provision of ICT infrastructure and start-up incubator programs. The market is far from saturated, with many users sparingly using mobile data and low smartphone penetration among Ghanaians of lower socioeconomic status. The industry’s future appears bright; however, if it is to reach its full potential and become a key driver of growth, further efforts will be needed to lower data costs and increase start-up financing.