Ghana has a diverse digital start-up scene. Due to the expansion of mobile money, FinTech startups are playing a major role but there are also interesting projects in the field of digital media.
Girls in tech:
Ghana has many organizations and initiatives to foster women and girls in the field of coding, ICT and digital media. Some of them are privately organized, others work with state support. Here is a selection:
Tech Need Girls: Organization that addresses the digital gender gap in Ghana through a mentorship program. Its main objective is to teach girls how to code.
Soronko Solutions: A software development powerhouse and a social enterprise
Python Ladies: A group of women focused on Python programming
Unlocking Women And Tech (UWAT): An initiative to equip women with coding, business management, professional networking and pitching skills, and funding to kick start their businesses.
Developers In Vogue: The organization aims to create a relevant community of highly skilled female developers who are passionate about using technology to revolutionize Africa and beyond.
Django Girls: A non-profit organization and community that empowers and helps women to organize free, one-day programming workshops by providing tools, resources and support.
Innovation in digital media, gaming and eLearning:
Some digital media startups have been founded to serve the needs of the local market. Others have a more Africa-wide approach:
Chalkboard Education: The company offers a digital solution to those wishing to set up their own e-learning courses. Schools, universities and other organziations can use a mobile app to distribute their course material. The app is designed for connectivity-starved environments. The technology relys on multiple mobile technologies to make content available and accessible to all students.
Leti Arts: A digital media company leading the next wave of Africa’s rich storytelling tradition. Using comics and mobile games as media, digital content enables users to purchase, download, read, watch and enjoy new comics and games. The latest product, Afrocomix, is a hub for all African creatives to host and display their Afrocentric content. The company “seeks to reawaken the pride of African youth” and aims to forge a connection with their heritage and culture by creating quality, interactive, Afrocentric content to replace the Western image and mentality of Africa.
AF Radio: A consumer application through which people can listen to their favourite live radio shows and play back the ones they missed as podcasts. AF Radio is building infrastructure that will help radio stations fully automate the process of recording their live radio content, turning it into podcasts and delivering it to their audiences at zero cost, while enabling them to increase their revenue through dynamic ad placements.
Qisimah: A data company for the music industry that analyzes radio airplay data to uncover patterns and insights that can help various stakeholders in the music industry make better decisions. The platform equips musicians, advertisers, and radio stations with data to help them make more informed decisions. It tracks who is playing an artist’s songs and where, allowing agencies to accurately collect royalties on behalf of their members. Musicians can also see where their music is trending geographically, who is listening, and which radio stations are playing their music the most.
VendyAds: The company facilitates the ad sales process across the traditional media landscape in Africa, with a focus on radio. Advertisers and SMEs can search for and purchase ad space based on rates and segments, and receive reports on their ad’s performance. Radio stations can manage received, processed and pending ads, and review analytics.
OMG Digital: A Ghanaian new media startup which is known as the “BuzzFeed of Africa” because of the company’s focus on creating content for African millennials. The digital media startup creates and curates all innovative forms of content for an African audience. It was chosen for the first set of 12 tech startups participating in the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa.
Pulse.com.gh: The media house is part of the Swiss Ringier Africa Digital Publishing Group (RADP). Pulse.com.gh is a news platform online “highlighting the entertainment, style and news that are part of Ghana’s and the West African DNA.” They are focused on a young user group.
Hubs, co-working spaces and barcamps
In Ghana, a scene of around 25 tech hubs and co-working centers has evolved. They are interlinked in the Technology & Business Hubs Network Ghana
The best-known hubs are:
BarCamp Ghana by GhanaThink: The GhanaThink Foundationis a social enterprise that mobilizes and organizes talent for the primary benefit of Ghana. The goal is “to build a critical mass of young, patriotic, passionate, positive, proactive, progressive and productive people in Ghana.” The flagship program, BarCamp Ghana, is building a network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs. Since 2008, nearly 100 BarCamps have been organized, impacting over 13,000 participants. See upcoming BarCamps at bit.ly/GhanaThinkBarcamps
Farming: Digital participation is also important for farmers. With digital tools, they are able to improve their harvest yield by using actual information about market prices and the weather.
Cowtribe: A startup for improving animal health. It uses information from farmers to create a vaccine schedule that’s tailored to his/her exact needs. It manages all vaccine schedules and sends out reminders when vaccines are due.
Farmerline: Farmerline provides a services for farmers that allows them to have all the information they need to work with more entrepreneurial farming methods. The aim of the company is to “leverage modern technology and data to connect small-scale farmers to vital services that increase profit.”
FinTech: Due to the expansion of mobile money, FinTech startups are playing a major role in Ghana.
Express Pay: Express Pay has created a payment gateway that combines multiple payment options under one roof – including mobile money. Express Pay aims to simplify the purchasing process in e-commerce transactions. The Bank Direct service allows users to immediately transfer money to any bank account.
DigiTeller: DigitTeller offers smart bots for banking. Customers are able to conduct banking transactions via chat services. Customers can use conversational language to interact with their bank accounts.
Bitland: Bitland is an organization that aims to provide services to allow individuals and organizations to survey land and record deeds onto the Bitshares Blockchain. As a pilot project, it is working out of Kumasi. The team is looking to expand their reach further into the African continent.
Zeepay: Zeepay offers a mobile app for retail payment. Customers are able to make mobile money payments via phone or point of sale devices . The app also enables a variety of other financial transactions via mobile phone.
BenBen: A web and mobile application that allows Ghanaians to manage their land records and perform land transactions.
The #speakup barometer is a DW Akademie project that examines the connection between digital participation, freedom of expression and access to information. Learn more at www.dw.com/barometer