Seemingly ever since Google informed that its first African intelligence center is set to be launched in Ghana, the country’s tech industry has been spurring, busy, developing and most off all drawing the biggies to more prospects that are brewing even as you are reading these lines of this post. In a bid to further rally the savvy and the enthusiastic, the startups and the dominators, the concerned and the interested, the indigenous and the regional, the physically present and the virtual, what was tailored to be a revolutionary conference to herald the digital mainstay of the country held as the Ghana Tech Summit. First of its annual kind and more of the sensation in view, this event shook the tech the Gold Coast’s tech scene, and of course, the internet. On Thursday 18th July 2018, the Accra Conference center hosted peoples from different parts of Ghana and the international front to kick off what was an inspiration from the Haiti Tech Summit.
Accra Conference Center
The first day of event kick-started with some panel discussions with topics on “Ghana Being the Next Silicon Valley,” including panelists such as Mariam Iqbal from MEST. The Influencers of Millennial Generation was also discussed, seeing big shots such as Yasmin Kimu, the CEO of African Foresight Group and Linda Ashong from StemBees discuss entrepreneurship, their business journeys and the future of Ghanaian millennials.
The event featured powerful panel discussions with the focus on bridging the gap between African businesses and technology. According to Emily Slota, who is the CEO of Liquid Financial Services, “If we look under the broad umbrella, there is power here.” She also remarked that Ghana’s research had been the platform upon which more of the world’s data has been obtained in the last ten months, than in the entire history of digital revolution. This lady who oversees mobile banking business via blockchain said that the tech scene of Ghana is enormous and that she’s convinced there is a myriad of potential in the country – where she resides after uprooting her life from California.
The second day of the event kicked off with a fireside chat with Lola Kassim, the General Manager of Uber West Africa, speaking on Uber, their competition and the future of West African ridesharing. LinkedIn’s Tyron Heath and Corey Hobbs and Elliot of Whitehead from Github. More panels discussed on e-commerce, education and the future of media, sports and entertainment with the involved personalities being Google’s Daraiha Greene, Cecil Senna from E-Campus and General Electric’s Michelle Mills.
Corey Hobbs and Elliot of Whitehead
“The world is talking about innovation and technology in Africa, said Marc Alain Boucicault, founder of Banj Co-Working Space in Haiti, who has worked in international development and macroeconomic studies with the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank. Alain was the first person in his country to develop the country’s private incubator by bringing in more than 300 developers – a move which he says accelerated business in his country. “Ghana can do the same, but an idea without execution simply won’t work,” he said. :”The world will not come to you. There is just way too much information out there as of now. You have to get out here, make your mark and create a credible brand. You have to reach out and make critical proposals.
The hot topic cryptocurrency was also discussed, with Ryan Scott saying he will sue the Akoin platform to incorporate economic inclusion for budding African cities. Speaking he said, “There is a lot of interest from the government regarding cryptocurrency. We are not here to disrupt what is already working, though; we simply want to enhance what’s available in the mobile money market.
David Steinacker, the Google head of online partnerships admonished a section of the audience that content is king, noting that successful businesses thrive on four vital factors: emotion, value, social proof, and stories. As part of ways to drive business up online, he said that content “Needs to be unique, and you can’t keep telling the same story because consumers are essentially interested in the story you are selling. Other key factors include speed: how fast websites operate either makes or breaks whether the consumer makes the sales”.
Africa yet has some digital lapses in her system, and they need to be looked into. But even in that light, the future is exciting, and David Steinacker is hopeful that the continent will rise like a phoenix from the ashes to be one of the tech leaders in the world.
Christine Ntim and Einstein Ntim founded the Ghana Tech Summit, and it is a three-day international program held to feature 100 global speakers and 1000 attendees, with the central theme being to catalyze entrepreneurial and business ecosystems on emerging markets. This multi-year event is a 12-year scheme of the Global Startup Ecosystem, convenes hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, digital marketers and creatives to form a pool that will spur tech knowledge and incorporation.
GSE hosts about 20 global programs a year with top notable summits such as Space Tech Summit in Silicon Valley, Blockchain Tech Summit in New York, and Haiti Tech Summit in Royal Decameron, Haiti which generated 105 social media impressions.