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PICTURED: Akosua Annobil

This week’s subject is: Technology in Africa

An increased use of technology throughout Africa is having a hugely positive effect on both business and the general population. Money Matters wanted to explore this development further and so decided to speak to an expert from Ghana.

Meet Akosua Annobil, award-win- ning entrepreneur and tech eco system builder. In 2015 she founded and developed AB2020, a company set up to promote and encourage investment in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa. This year Akosua also established the ‘Tech in Ghana’ conference.

Please read on for an insight into technology in Africa and in particular Ghana and how it’s really improving everyone’s lives there.

The ‘Tech in Ghana’ conference

Over the years, Akousa has been to many Africa tech events in London – most of them focusing on success stories in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Akousa tells us that she believed Ghana deserved its own platform and that was her real drive to get ‘Tech in Ghana’ off the ground.

The main aim of this annual conference is to raise awareness of Ghana’s tech eco system and boost its profile among UK investors, business peers and the wider tech community.

Akousa also envisaged establishing a good plat- form for wider global partnerships and between Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa.

We asked Akousa if she believed that there were many naïve perceptions about how tech savvy African consumers are. Agreeing whole- heartedly, she said that yes there are a lot of misconceptions about how tech in Africa looks and what it means. But, in truth, there are some real geniuses on the continent and there’s a proliferation of innovation exploding there.

Slowly, perceptions are changing thanks to social media, blogs and events. But still outmoded notions hold fast and must be knocked on the head.

Tech changing the way business works

We then talked about how technology had changed the way Akosua managed her business. She tells us that it had changed the way she interacted with her team. Previously she’d have face to face meetings on a regular basis. Now the team communicates by email chains, WhatsApp groups and other apps. In this way, it’s easier for them all to be mobile and travel.

We then discussed how technology can be a bridge between Africa and the rest of the world. Akousa believes that it can bring Africa onto a level playing field with the rest of the global community, through a variety of ways such as financial inclusion and e-commerce. It can also change people’s perceptions by helping them see things through African eyes and highlight its successes.

The impact of mobile money in Africa

We then discussed just how big mobile money is getting in Africa. Akosua tells us that the Global System for Mobile (GSMA) recently reported that there were 277 million people using the service. This is significantly higher than people who have bank accounts, which proves what a major impact it’s having.

She goes on to say that in Ghana in particular, many people are using mobile money on a regular basis to pay bills, collect remittances and send money internationally. So she believes it will continue to make an impact for many years to come.

“Girl power all the way”

Akosua thinks that women should see tech as being one of the best things that could have happened to them – it’s so liberating,and they really shouldn’t be deterred by an industry that’s dominated by men. As she so eloquently puts it, “tech empowers women and they’ll empower the world. Girl power all the way”. You can’t argue with that.

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