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Home Countries Digital Ghana – An ICT-Sector Overview

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This article is part of the Outsourcing Destination Guide Ghana, published by German Outsourcing Association in July 2021, which is available for free download at www.outsourcing-destinations.org. – Ghana is located very close to the Equator on the Gulf of Guinea, sharing boarders with three countries Côte d’Ivoire to the west, Togo to the east, and Burkina to the north. The country occupies a territory of 238,535 km2, which is about 66% of the size of Germany. The country has 16 administrative regions, that are divided into 275 districts. (Source: Wikipedia, Ghana)

Ghana’s capital is Accra, located in the south east of the country. It inhabits more than 5 million people on an area of 173 km2. The Kotoka International Airport is located about 10 km from Accra city center.

Ghana has a parliamentary multi-party system and is politically a unitary presidential constitutional democracy. Two parties dominate the political life, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Ghana is an active member of the United Nations and the African Union and a number of Ghanaian diplomats and politicians hold positions in international organizations. This includes Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Akua Kuenyehia, International Criminal Court Judge, and Jerry John Rawlings as well as John Agyekum Kufuor, both former, who both served as diplomats of the United Nations.

worldmap Ghana

Map: via 123rf.com, user: dikobrazik

 

 

 

Demographics and languages

Ghana’s population is very young with 18.5 million people or 58% being between 15 and 64 years’ old. The overall estimate of the population in 2020 is 32 million. The Christian religion is dominating with 68.8% and the Muslim religion accounts for about 15.9% of the population.

English is the official language in Ghana, besides lingua franca, due to the fact that about 80 languages are being spoken in Ghana, Akan being the most widely spoken indigenous language in Ghana.

Economy and trade

In the Presidential Report On Co-Ordinated Programme Of Economic And Social Development Policies from 1996, Jerry John Rawlings, former President of the Republic of Ghana, envisions Ghana to become the first African developed country between 2020 and 2029 and an industrialized country between 2030 and 2039.

During that time the GDP per capita has quintupled from 1,611 USD to 8,343 USD. The total GDP (PPP) was in 2020 about 226 billion USD. (Sources: Wikipedia Ghana and The Economy of Ghana).

Key economic sectors are Petroleum and natural gas production – Ghana’s Jubilee Oilfield has a volume of up to 3 billion barrels – , Industrial minerals mining and manufacturing.

Ghana is also a producer of high-quality cocoa with an estimated production of 850,000 tons in 2020/21. With that Ghana is behind Côte d’Ivoire the 2nd largest producer of cocoa globally. Source: Statista)

The Main exports 2018 were Gold with 39.71%, Petroleum, oils and crude with 25.25%, and Cocoa beans and related products with 16.38%. Behind follow fruits and vegetables, incl. related products, plastics and packaging, metals, textiles, electrical products, machinery and parts, as well as vehicles and parts. (Source: https://atlas.cid.harvard.edu/countries/83/export-basket)

Read the entire article with graphs and numbers in the Outsourcing Destination Guide Ghana, which is available for free download at www.outsourcing-destinations.org

 

Office space and infrastructure

Net rentals for A-grade spaces are currently between USD 30 /m²/month – USD 35 /m²/month (Source: https://gipc.gov.gh/wpcontent/uploads/2020/11/ICTFintech-Brochure.pdf) In close proximity to the Kotoka International Airport and the Kwame Nkurumah Circle and the Presidential Palace is the modern “One Airport Square” office building located. It is Ghana’s first environmentally certified commercial building and offers 17,000 m² office space and services, including virtual offices, serviced offices and meeting rooms.

There is also a 20-hectare ICT park near Accra under construction, that will provide in its first phase of completion about 7,300 sqm modern office space tailored for tech and business services companies. (Source: Garland ICT Park, Accra, Ghana, www.garlandconsultancy.com)

As several media outlets in Ghana report another office park, the Eco-Industrial Park in Agona Ashanti (close to Kumasi, central Ghana), has been approved in 2018. (Source: https://www.openghana.com/eco-industrialpark-projcet-commence-soon-management) Short term and flexible workspace arrangements in central locations can be found at Regus, Kukun, and Africaworks in Accra. About 10 min drive from Kotoka Airport Instant Offices offers small and medium-sized office space. A medium sized office of 400 sqm cost about 1,800 EUR / month. (Source: https://www.instantoffices.com/en/gh/available-office-space/accra/forestavenue-53861) Overall co-working-space business models are very popular and offer the usual desk, but also private offices for one person or “entire companies” as Movenpick in Accra describes it. We recommend talking to a local real estate agent to get a precise overview about the available space and the current conditions.

Read the entire article with graphs and numbers in the Outsourcing Destination Guide Ghana, which is available for free download at www.outsourcing-destinations.org

 

The ICT Sector

The ICT sector with telecommunications leading, is contributing about 3,6 % to the country’s GDP. (Source: Ghana Statistical Service 2017). The sector revenue was in 2017 about 1.7 billion USD, which was 0.8 billion more than in 2014. This impressive growth is mostly due to an early liberalization of the telecom market in the late 1990.

The ICT sector with telecommunications leading is contributing about 3,6 % of the country’s GDP. (Source: Ghana Statistical Service 2017). The sector revenue was in 2017 about 1.7 billion USD, which was 0.8 billionmore than in 2014.

This impressive growth is mostly due to an early liberalization of the telecom market in the late 1990. After the 2019 Africa BPO Country Reports and Market Analysis of Knowledge Executive, a US-based Analyst/Research Firm, there are an estimated 6,700 people employed in the BPO sector in Ghana. The BPO segment had in 2019 a size about 120 mio. USD (BPO numbers: https://vimeo.com/477967267).

In 2019 there were more than 20 companies offering business process outsourcing services, a number of IT-parks and more than 50 hubs that provide training, incubator, and mentorship services to startups. (Source: Worldbank Ghana Digital Economy Diagnostic 2019)

Generally, when talking about the ICT sector, sources often refer to the infrastructure business segment with fixed and mobile communication. Only recently so called digital business with IT-services and BPO services are put in focus of public discussions and sector support initiatives. This is kind of symptomatic for Africa, even though some countries such as Ghana have adopted mobile communication and internet usage fairly early.

Ghana has a few achievements in the tech sector to show. So was Ghana the first Sub-Saharan country to launch a satellite into orbit. (Source: Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Investment in Ghana by Make-IT in Africa initiative 2019)

Google’s First Artificial Intelligence Centre in Africa was launched in Ghana. (Source: Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Investment in Ghana by Make-IT in Africa initiative 2019)

Ghanan engineer Dr. Mensah was involved in the invention of fiber optics and nanotechnology, recently received the 2019 International Nanotechnology Conference award. (Source: https://www.theafricandream.net/fiber-optics-expert-dr-thomas-mensah-receives-prestigious-global-award/

Digital strategy and public initiatives for digitization

When looking at Africa in the context of technology and ICT services we need to take into account its size, regional alliances and different phases of development countries are at. That’s why it is not farfetched to speak of regional ICT hubs on the continent.

Now Ghana’s government is aiming to establish the country as such a regional hub for digital services. And it does it for the right reasons. Because the development of technology services and products is a reliable and strong driver for economic development – for the creation of higher quality jobs, for a jump in education, for inclusion and for improving productivity.

However, the road ahead is not that flat for Ghana’s government. Besides policy, public support and infrastructure projects there are a lot of areas to tackle before the country will be recognized as a true digital hub in the region. The defined objectives of the government to accelerate the growth of the digital sector are:

1. foster the growth of the local IT industry beyond the boundaries of Ghana

2. making digital services accessible in rural areas (most infrastructure is concentrated in urban areas)

3. Using ICT to increase efficiency, improve citizen experience and engagement with government, to increase transparency of government services, and to improve revenue from government services. For that purpose, a digital address system, an e-procurement, an e-immigration, an e-parliament, and an e-judiciary platform were developed.

The aim is to create an inclusive digital economy that is accessible to all citizens and bring benefits also to other sectors such as health, education, agriculture, retail and commerce. Still government, providers and users must address major risk factors and work towards avoiding exclusion, prevent potential fraud and build more awareness about cyber security.

On the infrastructure side the telecommunication sector is defined by a great mobile network coverage and a high mobile penetration rate (131 SIM cards / 100 inhabitants), but also by a focus of the providers on building wireless networks instead of building nationwide high speed fiber optic network.

Between 1985 and 2018 at least 22 government programs had been launched to support digital entrepreneurship in Ghana. And while this seems an effective way to improve the ecosystem for new businesses the authors of the Worldbank report state that those initiatives have often been uncoordinated (not less than 14 different government agencies provided support programs), overlapping and without overall vision. At the same time a limited access to financing is a very usual problem in developing and emerging economies.

Ghana is an attractive business destination. A good infrastructure with power, road network and internet, political stability and a good ranking in the ease of doing business index of the Worldbank are reasons for that. Evidence is the volume of foreign investment that Ghana was able to attract in 2018, which was with 3,5 billion USD twice as high as for the bigger Nigeria. (Source: Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Investment in Ghana by Make-IT in Africa initiative 2019)

Startups for instance find a large number of support organizations that provide training or advisory. In Greater Accra region close to 200 of such organizations are active, in other 9 regions and cities of the country between 26 and 37 organizations are available in each of the locations. (Source: Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Investment in Ghana by Make-IT in Africa initiative 2019)

 

Read the entire article with graphs and numbers in the Outsourcing Destination Guide Ghana, which is available for free download at www.outsourcing-destinations.org[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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