How to become Africa’s Tech Giants

In our previous article, we spoke about the potential Accra has, to become the top tech city in Africa. We mentioned that safety, accessibility, presence of a vibrant youth, religious harmony, stable governance, a home for tech startups & international companies, among others are key elements of preparing Accra for a tech eruption. Therefore in this article, we would go ahead to elaborate on how Accra can focus on these unique strengths to excel at technology.

Aim higher–Don’t just outsource

One of the main things that can hold Ghana back from its grand technological evolution is outsourcing of labor. Most advanced countries typically keep their labor force within, working for the nation. Ghana tends to have cheaper labor and that’s okay. But the issue with cheap labor is that it is often dependent on global market forces, like any other commodity. If for some reason the demand goes low, we would have a problem. So like we said before, Ghana is better off retaining its revenue by utilizing labor within.

No, the key to sustained growth and fundamental social benefit is to build and grow big scalable business that own and control IP, thereby maximizing revenue inflows as that IP is licensed, maximized and exploited globally without proportional costs”Tom McDonnell explains.

Accra- Focus on the strengths not weaknesses
Be your own competition–grow steadily

Ghana has enough resources to establish their own money-making ventures. Yet, with a comparatively smaller middle class citizens, it is harder for us to appear as a good place to start profitable consumer-facing businesses. In simpler terms, Ghana is not the best place to run consumer-facing businesses like digital health technology. Nope, we are not there yet…at least not in the eyes of South Africa, Kenya or Nigeria. These countries have way larger middle class and domestic markets. So instead of seeing Lagos, for instance, as the rivals, Accra should rather see it as a partner. This city should focus on improving within its own capabilities–masters of our own crafts. Then in a matter of years, Accra would have made so much progress to be able to overcome Lagos, Nairobi and everyone else!

“So why compete when you can differentiate and play to your strengths? And why be intimidated by a country that is not even next door, but several streets away…Ghana needs to stand tall and be proud. Lagos is not the competition, it’s a partner. The real competition lies all around the world”, Tom McDonnell adds.

Welcome innovation in all spheres

Lastly, Accra stands to benefit more from change. After all, the only thing constant in life is change. Innovation is imperative to technological advancement, and should not be limited to only startups. Even in governmental institutions, innovation is needed. But it’s not a matter of just saying it, the work should be done. The general attitude of Ghanaians is “talk talk talk and no action”; which is worrying. Both individuals and public institutions should work together to effect change in key areas. Tom McDonnell lists a few sectors the Ghanaian public should pay attention to. These are:

  • Energy
  • Heathcare
  • Business Finance and IT
  • Agriculture
  • Transportation

In summary, the only way Accra or Ghana can attain its status as tech giants is by working together within, sticking to its identity and offering a more welcoming atmosphere for change in all areas. In our next article, we would elaborate and enumerate exact methods to use in these areas.

*Source: Original piece written by Tom McDonnell of

Read more: Accra: A Growing Hub for Technology in Africa