Ghana is the center of the World.
Ghana is closer than any other state on Earth to the intersection of two zero meridians, which makes the preceding sentence technically correct. As to emphasis that point, Ghana took the central stage in the African political history. Ghana is one of the oldest states on the African continent considering that since 9th century a significant part of the Republic’s territory had been already occupied by various indigenous Kingdoms (such, for example, as Ashanti, Akwamu, Bonoman, Denkyira and Mankessim).
Ghana had played the key role in the European exploration and colonization of the African continent specifically on its Western cost. In 15th century Ghana was named the Gold Coast and major colonial powers including Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Germany and later the Great Britain established their military outposts on coasts of Ghana. In fact, this place soon became the point of the largest concentration of European military installations in Africa.
Since 1874 The Crown became a predominant force in Ghana. Recognizing the importance of that colony as not only the major mineral resources base for the British Empire but also as the rising center of the African political power, British authorities provided indigenous political leaders with unprecedented in Africa of that time degree of the political autonomy including forming a rudimentary national assembly and allowing participation of local elites in the colonial government (although only on low level positions). At the same time, some Ghanaians (primary from the local elite) received their universities’ degrees in United Kingdom and United States. That created unique political background for the future of Ghana.
In 1957, after it became the first independent sub-saharan African state, Ghana, as many other post-colonial countries, chose Marxist-Leninist ideology as a lay-out for its new political system. However, it didn’t take too long for Socialist government to discredit itself and to be overthrown by the military coup.
From 1970th to the start of 2000th Ghana had changed three constitutions and exercised various forms of military dictatorships, one-party systems, autocratic governances, which all were characterized by a combination of intrusive central authorities with elements of the “guided democracy”. In 2004 Ghana launched its fourth Republic, now, under the umbrella of the multi-party democracy.
Although government controlled enterprises had played traditionally very important role in the Ghana’s economy since 1960th, at the same time, privately owned, free-market businesses prevail in Ghana. Today not only large deposits of gold, diamonds and oil constitute the base for Ghana’s economic development but also such industries as information technologies and science. Ghana is one of few African countries which has its own nuclear development and cosmos exploration programs.
One of the major issue for Ghana recently has became the proliferation of drug traffickers. In 2000th Ghana emerged as the major entrance point for South American drug cartels to the European market. Accordingly the level of corruption in Ghana government’s central and local institutions is very high.
Despite all those challenges, Ghana today is considered by international community among those few African nations which are likely to join the rank of developed countries in the observable future.
Ghana’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and information to its citizens and government, notwithstanding frequent breaches of this fundamental law by overzealous or corrupt bureaucrats, tries not to overstep it too far. It makes this country one of the most prolific places for Internet medias and bloggers in all of the Africa.
As it had happened previously many times all across the globe that intense Internet information generation and consumption lies strong base for further development of the commercial Internet. As a result, Ghana has recently emerged as one of the most visible spots on the African startup map.
Those prospects, however, are undermined by relatively old power generation and telecommunication systems (which was developed and implemented mostly in 1980–1990th), low income population (per-capita is less than $2,000), as well as by over-regulation of local investment and finance sectors (specifically with regards of restrictions concerning foreign VC capital). Additionally, local startup ecosystem is still heavily relying on government’s support and mostly limited to Ghana’s capital — Accra. As a result, list of prominent Ghanaian founders isn’t more than one hundreds or so names long.
Business Notes for Startups Founders:
- political climate: moderately friendly;
- economic climate: moderately friendly;
- regions to focus: locally, Sub-Saharan Africa;
- industries to focus: e-commerce, media, mobile applications, e-job, marketplaces, entertainment, FinTech, tourism, solar, bio-tech;
- major limitations: relatively low Internet penetration (under 30%), high level of corruption, low personal income, limited access to VC and seed money;
- opportunities: expanding economy (GDP growth rate about 6%), many new market opportunities, large young population, access to qualify pool of local coders and talents from neighboring countries, potential to became one of major African’s technological hubs.