Ghana’s first annual tech summit draws in world’s top innovators, investors

Ghana’s first annual tech summit draws in world’s top innovators, investors
Source: Ghana | | Zaina Adamu | Email: | Twitter: @ZainaAdamu
Date: 20-07-2018 Time: 12:07:53:pm

With Google’s first African artificial intelligence centre set to launch in Ghana, the tech industry’s top movers and shakers are now being drawn to more prospects that can take shape in the country.

Powerful panel discussions dominated the first day of the Ghana Tech Summit at the Accra International Conference Center Thursday. The focus: bridging the gap between African businesses and technology.   

"If we look under the broad umbrella, there’s power here,” said Emily Slota, CEO of Liquid Financial Services.

Through her research, more of the world’s data has been obtained in the last ten months than in the entire history of the digital revolution. That’s huge, said Slota, who oversees a mobile banking business via blockchain.

She’s convinced there’s loads of potential in Ghana, a place where she resides after uprooting her life from California.

“The world is talking about innovation and technology in Africa, said Marc Alain Boucicault, founder of Banj Co-Working Space in Haiti.

Marc Alain has worked in international development and macroeconomic research with the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank. He was the first in his country to develop the country’s private incubator by bringing in over 300 developers.

He says the move accelerated business in his country.

Ghana can do the same, he said. But an idea without execution simply won’t work.

“The world won’t come to you. There’s just way too much information out there now. You have to get out there. Make your mark and create a credible brand. Reach out and make critical proposals.”

The summit's chief organizer, Einstein Ntim at the Haiti Tech Summit earlier this year.

Another hot topic: cryptocurrency.

Ryan Scott is the CEO of AKoin, a new currency he helped develop with musical artist Akon. The platform he says will incorporate economic inclusion for budding African cities.

“There’s a lot of interest from government for cryptocurrency. We’re not here to disrupt what already works though,” adding that he simply wants to enhance what is already available in the mobile money market.

Tied to cryptocurrency is finding new ways to drive up businesses online. David Steinacker, head of online partnerships at Google told a packed audience that content is king. Successful businesses all thrive on these four critical factors: emotion, practical value, social proof and stories.

“It needs to be unique. You can’t keep telling the same story,” because essentially, consumers are “interested in the story you are selling.”

Other key factors include speed. How fast a website operates either makes or breaks whether the consumer makes the sale, Steinacker noted.

While Africa still has some digital wrinkles in the system that need to be ironed out, the future is exciting, and he’s hopeful Africa will stand up as one of the worldwide leaders in technology.

About Ghana Tech Summit

Ghana Tech Summit is a three-day international program to be hosted on July 18-20, 2018 at Accra International Conference Center featuring 100 global speakers and 1000 attendees.

The central theme of the global summit is to “catalyze entrepreneurial and business ecosystems in emerging markets”.

The multi-year event is a 12- year initiative of the Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE) which brings together hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, digital marketers and creatives together in to targeted cities around the world to accelerate tech, innovation and economic development within the host country.

GSE hosts about 20 global programs a year with top notable summits such as Space Tech Summit in Silicon Valley, Blockchain Tech Summit in New York, and Haiti Tech Summit in Royal Decameron, Haiti which generated 105 social media impressions.