Our meeting marathon continues! 2 more days, Thursday and Friday, leading to the terrible Friday night match (Ghana lost its World Cup football quarter-final match to Uruguay in penalties)! One of the most quiet 3 hours in terms of traffic in Accra in the memories of the oldest inhabitants!
Coming back to our meetings, Thursday was relatively soft compared to previous days, but heavy given that it was an official public holiday day in Ghana. We spent the morning debriefing on the first days and defining an action plan. We will publish it in the next 2 weeks.
Then we had a fruitful meeting with Kofi Appenteng, who is among other things member of the board of trustees of Ford Foundation. Kofi underlined the issues around access to capital in Ghana, and in particular access to capital for IT projects. Kofi mentionned that for development-oriented services, it might be easier to focus on donor funding for initial capital. They are more likely potential investors than traditional business angels.
We then met with a fascinating young entrepreneur, Bright Simons, who is behind a project called mPedigree. This is a mobile service to track fake drugs. It was really impressive to get the whole story, and how he came to the idea, starting from trying to sell organic goods to northern countries. Lots of interesting insight about all the challenges he met and still meeting to implement his idea.
Finally, we met Dorothy Gordon, the director of Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in ICT. The center has been mentioned by almost all the people we met as a central place in the Ghana ICT scene. Dorothy is a very nice person who is very active to keep the center up to date with latest trend. We discussed how the potential training we have in mind could extend existing courses currently delivered at the center on software development and programming. Lots of potential synergies.
The day ended with a nice dinner in the trendy OSU/Oxford Street area with Mira Slavova, a researcher working at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Ghana. Mira is active in the W3C group on Mobile Web for Social Development (MW4D), and we discussed how ICT can help spread new agri technics and support extension agents.
Our last day was very relaxing ! We had only one meeting. We met the CEO and the Chair of the board of the Ghana Information and Knowledge Sharing Network (GINKS). GINKS is a very active well-known network of individual and organizations, linking more than 400 members interested in ICT. GINKS will surely be helpful as a vector of dissemination, and as a major actor for community building. The discussion was very positive on how to promote a better usage, and greater availability of mobile content, and how to extend our initiative outside Accra in all part of Ghana particularly in rural areas.
During these few days, we learnt a lot, and we met a good panel of the different actors in the domain. However, a couple of organizations have been mentioned almost all the time, and i will ensure that we visit them next time we come. These includes the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, Ghana Multimedia Iincubator Centre (GMIC), a World Bank associated ICT Incubator, and the Kumasi University of Science and Technology. Now i will do my best to summarize our findings and next steps in a report to be published by mid july.
As this trip is finished now, I want to thank to all people who took the time to chat with us, and
i want to give a bigger thank to Dr. Nii Quaynor who helped us during the whole week to understand the local context, and to shape our project.
Ps: previous posts are now illustrated with pictures !