The maiden Tech In Ghana Conference was a two-day event spanning the 21st and 22nd of November 2017. It was an initiative by The Ministry for Communications, Ghana. The purpose of the event was to bring The Government of Ghana, the private sector, and the local tech community together in order to accelerate the development of the technology ecosystem in the country. It was also an opportunity for players in the technology industry to showcase their innovations as well as well as share some of the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
Hosted at the Accra Digital Centre, the event started with the opening keynote by The Minister for Communications, Honourable Ursula Owusu-Ekuful. She talked about GoG’s newly found desire to use home-grown companies for government projects and touched on government’s goal to position Ghana as a technology hub for sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. She also stated some ways the government intends to develop the IT sector such as adding coding to the education curriculum at the basic level, providing under-served communities with good internet and voice connectivity, as well as well as supporting start-ups through the revamped National Entrepreneurship Policy.
The event followed a straightforward format afterward, an alternating process of Entrepreneurs and companies showcasing their products and innovations followed by a panel discussion dissecting a particular topic which was then followed by a brief Q&A session between the audience and the panelists.
Here are some highlights from the event.
- The tech disruption panel focused on how Ghana can utilise technology to develop its traditional sectors. Technology will always amplify what already exists in the society, said one panelist. Technology will enable Africa to leapfrog the information age but always remember to bring the people along as well, cautioned another.
- During the next tech generation panel, Franklin Owusu-Karikari, Director of Business Support at NEIP said the government had set aside a net sum of $60m in the 2018 budget for the development of the local tech scene but he was grilled over some of the initiatives taken by the government as well as its lack of collaboration with stakeholders when making decisions.
- Also, Dr. Thomas Mensah, inventor of the fibre optic cable made a surprise appearance and gave a motivational speech.
- The closing keynote was given by Deputy Minister for Communications, Honourable Vincent Sowah Odotei.
My takeaway from the event is this relatively new government is committing to, and embracing the digital revolution and wants to use the local tech ecosystem to accelerate its agenda of a digital Ghana.
Not to end on damper but this is all talk until it is not. I personally am glad we are talking now and I am excited to not just observe but be a part of this digital future but as I mentioned earlier, this is still a pretty new government that has barely got its feet wet so it will be best keep our expectations grounded.
I am hopeful though.
Also published on Medium.