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June 6, 2012

Regional Spotlight: Ghana

Following our brief jaunt to North Africa last week, I decided I’d like to linger a bit longer in the ‘Dark Continent’ and find out how it’s embracing new challenges in technology and social entrepreneurship. So this week Nokia Connects takes you to Ghana, where a new tech-savvy generation is paving the way for a brighter future for everyone.

via seadiaspora

In 2007, Ghanaian Economist George Ayittey made a speech at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania comparing two types of generation living in his home country: the ‘hippos’ and the ‘cheetahs’.

According to Ayiteyy, Ghana’s older generation are the hippos. They are stuck in their ways, inflexible, unchanging, and failing to keep up with the changes in technology that are changing the social landscape around them. In contrast the younger generation, the cheetahs, are tech-savvy, hungry to learn, and able to constantly adapt and change to accommodate new technological developments. In a continent that since 2006 has been gaining internet connections faster than any other region in the world, this can only be a good thing.

Not only does Ghana (and Africa as a whole) have the benefit of this young, savvy generation, they are also in the majority. Nearly 40 per cent of Ghana’s population are under the age of 15, compared with only 16 per cent in the UK, and the proportion of those under the age of 25 is even larger. This means that there are a huge number of ‘dynamic, intellectually agile, and pragmatic‘ individuals willing to take a chance to see real change in their societies.

Social networks are obviously a huge part of this change, with home-grown social media channels such as starting to take off in the country. As CEO Frank Davis describes it, is:

an online community for spirited Ghanaians who want to explore their passion, keep in touch with friends, connect with other Ghanaians, share life experience, and most of all have fun. You’ll find members tapping for information and inspiration 24/7

via dredgingtoday

It is start-ups such as this that are equipping the ‘cheetah generation’ with the skills, technology and exposure to make a real difference to their communities – and with the spread of mobile technology and services such as Nokia Life, the sky’s the limit!

What do you think will be the future of Ghana’s ‘cheetah generation’? Does your country have some interesting social start-ups you think we should be focusing on? Drop us a line in the comments below or at the usual place @Nokia_Connects and let us know!