Today, with much excitement, we travel from our respective cities of London, Tehran and Paris bound for Accra, capital city of Ghana.
Ghana is perhaps a second home to me having traveled back and forth visiting family for almost 14 years now. The truth is that I don’t visit enough which is something my family and I intend to change in the not too distant future. For us, Ghana is a very special place, a smart, progressive and rapidly developing society with a deep culture as well as significant natural resources, the most important of which are its people.
Ghana is one of the African continents fastest growing digital nations experiencing a rapid increase in the uptake of internet and mobile data platforms.
As a result of local and international initiatives Ghana is now at the nascent stage of competing in the digital economy and exporting home grown digital product. In my view this is a vital stage for African nations where there is increasing access to digital platforms but where the majority of digital content comes from outside.
Without domestic digital creativity it is easy to imagine how opportunities for sustainable local wealth creation could be lost whilst at the same time losing its own unique culture in a westernized cyberspace. I commented on this issue some years ago when I was concerned by the “brandalism” conducted by mobile operators seeking short term growth rather than long term rewards by investing in the people.
With this in mind I’m super pleased to be heading to Ghana to visit what I consider to be two vital and important programmes.
The first is Worldreader, an initiative founded by David Risher and Colin Mcelwee who saw the opportunity to distribute e-readers and e-books to communities in rural Africa to provide unprecedented access to the written word. So far they have distributed more than 600,000 e-books to over 4,000 children many of whom have never owned a printed book. But it doesn’t stop there and I’ll be visiting a primary school in Adeiso, Eastern Region (about a 2 hour drive from Accra) to meet with Colin, teachers, local kids and their parents.
Our second case study is Mobile Web Ghana, a non-profit organisation established by Ghanaians to foster digital creativity and entrepreneurship. Its objective is to provide training, access and support so that Ghanaians can create their own digital businesses and compete in the global digital economy. I’m looking forward to interviewing their founder and project co-ordinator, Florence Toffa, at their new facility in Ghana as well as meeting some of the teaching staff, mentors and students.
If you have any questions for Colin or Florence please add them to the comments below and I will ask them during my interviews or report back here.
Well for now my case is packed along with my tech, sunnies and sun cream hoping for a warm “akwaaba” in Ghana along with a helping of Tilapia & Banku!