Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wherever you are in Ghana, Jumia is here for you

I first learnt about Jumia via a billboard in Lagos (on the main bridge connecting the island and the mainlands) sometime in 2013. I was in Las Gidi working with external and internal clients for Rancard. Given what we know about putting billboards and their costs, I was giddy about seeing these - for an ecommerce website nonetheless. I later found out it was a ‘popular’ website for Nigerians to buy items online. Amazon for Nigeria. This month, still Africa’s leading online retailer, Jumia, launched in Ghana. Ghana is the latest African country Jumia is operating in. Akwaaba, Jumia.

Jumia first launched in 2012 and has already successfully brought e-commerce to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon. If you know more about Jumia, you know it’s actually managed by Rocket Internet, one of the most aggressive tech companies worldwide. With German type efficiency and American type aggression and African type resourcefulness, Jumia is growing at a fast pace. I fully expect it to ramp up quickly in Ghana and be a major player in the space here shortly. So don’t be surprised when you see their billboards in town. Actually, I will not be surprised if we don’t see their billboards in town. Maybe they’ll do more BTL this time, then ATL. (below-the-line, above-the-line advertising.

Jumia is part of Africa Internet Holding’s portfolio. AIH is the parent group of nine successful and fast-growing companies in more than 20 African countries, accounting for over 3000 staff. That’s a lot of IT jobs right there, which has been a major discussion point in the ongoing Innovation Month in Ghana. AIH’s network of companies includes JUMIA, Kaymu, Hellofood, Lamudi, Carmudi, Zando, Jovago, Lendico and Easy Taxi. Easy Taxi is a popular service amongst people in my network. HelloFood is patronized here and Lamudi has been making some good waves.
One of the most impressive things about Jumia is that they have their own warehouses and delivery teams. They have recently turned on a variety of payment options including cash on delivery, credit card and mobile money as well - closing the loop on e-commerce and payments. Jumia has adapted the global megatrend for African consumers and won the trust of a large and constantly growing customer base. I wasn’t surprised when I realised they were among the first cohort of companies in Stanford SEED’s West Africa program, hosted in Accra when I attended the launch.

According to a 2013 report by good old McKinsey, Ghana has 3.5 million internet users and an internet penetration rate of 55% in urban areas, while a quarter of city residents go online daily, the second-highest rate in Africa. To do what exactly, I’d love to know. A quarter is impressive, and will be more meaningful when we collectively go online and do more than communicate amongst ourselves. I must add my favorite stat - Ghana also has more mobile users than people. That means a whole lot of people accessing Jumia will be via the phone. Being mobile responsive cannot be underrated. At all at all at all.

Temitope Abereoje is the Country Manager for Jumia Ghana. I will forgive you if you thought of Nigerian aggression. But believe you me, the Jumia Ghana team will operate Ghana with a lot of insight, while borrowing from best practices elsewhere. In a press statement, Temitope said: “This is another exciting step for Jumia. We are confident that Ghanaians will embrace the opportunity to shop easily and conveniently online, and are committed to maintaining our high standards of security, great value and fantastic service as we continue to expand across the continent.”

In spite of the cedi’s troubles, Ghana is still one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, with a GDP of $37 billion. If the masses thronging the new mall in Accra is anything to go by, it is proven that Ghanaians have an increasing purchasing power and are in a position to begin taking full advantage of online services. These point to a great market for Jumia to thrive in and Ghanaians to gain more value from being online. But you can stop reading from me now. Here are some other testimonials. Go on, select an item, register your order and get it delivered anywhere in Ghana.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The 3rd Barcamp Takoradi is finally here! #bctdi

Next year, the +GhanaThink Foundation will break the buck of having +Barcamp Takoradi only in even years - 2010, 2012, 2014. This year's Barcamp Takoradi will focus on building a neworked community which can be leveraged for more special things to happen in the Twin-Cities of Ghana. Let's welcome the 3rd Barcamp in Takoradi (arguably the 3rd biggest city in Ghana). I missed the first one though in 2010, when +Mac-Jordan Degadjor led a team alongside +Donald Ward +Teresa Lemaire +Kwamena Appiah-Kubi and co to organize it. The event was held at the Takoradi Technical Institute. Saturday's Barcamp Takoradi will be at +Takoradi Polytechic just like in 2012, but in a different venue.

Barcamp Takoradi 2010 was the first Barcamp +Kobe Subramaniam attended. Today, he's part of the +Barcamp Ghana team alongside +kofi yeboah, +Senam Aseye Bridget +Rachel Hormeku and Takoradi native +Leonard Hagan. +Nana Fynn Class-Peters who's held the fort greatly run our recent Twitter chat in the run-up to the event. +araba assafuaba yelbert joined the team this year and is the defacto lead - while only a second year student at T-Poly. After several calls for volunteers based in Takoradi, +herbert acheampong joined our team alongside some Curious Minds - +Dora Mochiah & Dora Ampaabeng. +Enock Seth Nyamador, who's attended multiple Barcamps, and joined the +Ghana Volunteer Program, is contributing as well. He's currently studying nearby, at the University of Mines in Tarkwa.

I'm looking forward to a great event with a lot of awesome people based in Takoradi (and Sekondi), all of which will find a lot of value in being there. It's well documented now that Takoradi is not growing as quickly as it should and its growth is having adverse effects on its residents. In 2011, I wrote this blog post - Watching, guiding and aiding Takoradi's growth. I am looking for first hand experiences in order to rewrite this story. Join me at the event or participate via the #bctdi hashtag. Read the press release below.

BarCamp Takoradi 2014 is a FREE networking forum to bring people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue about Takoradi, Ghana and beyond. The Theme for this year is "Building skills to leverage on local opportunities" BarCamp Takoradi 2014 will take place in 15th November 2014 at the School of Applied Arts Conference room at Takoradi Polytechnic. It hopes to assemble Western Regional stakeholders to network, build a supportive entreprising community and partnership. Participants will learn from, share and network with each other.

The 3rd Barcamp Takoradi is as part of the Barcamp Ghana program run by the GhanaThink Foundation, an NGO based both in Ghana and the USA. GhanaThink has organized 38 BarCamps in Ghana in building a network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs. This Barcamp will connect and strengthen a community of motivated and aspirational people in the Twin-cities, ultimately benefiting the Western region and Ghana.

At Barcamp Takoradi, we will discuss how residents in the Twin Cities - Sekondi & Takoradi - can acquire relevant skills to take advantage of the economic growth in the area. From the recent pre-event chat on Twitter via the #bctdi hashtag, many people spoke about the need for opportunities to be given to young people in Takoradi. Other respondents argued that the young people must be qualified in order to take on these (job) opportunities. Ato Ulzen-Appiah, director of the GhanaThink Foundation commented: "There are various opportunities and gaps that need to be filled as Takoradi grows. Ghanaians must build skills and expertise to take advantage of these".
Thought and business leaders such as Seth Awuku (leading lawyer), James Pyne (Oil & Gas) and Issa Ouedrago (Revolutionary Farmer) in the region will share insight and inspiration. As usual, we will have multiple user-generated breakout sessions about topics relevant to the Western Region and beyond. Our speed mentoring session will help participants gain insights and answers to questions. Our confirmed mentors include +Afua Prempeh (Mandela Washington Fellow), +Fiifi Adinkra (+Ghana Ndwom), +Andy Adisi (Empire FM), Kwame Mensah (WERENGO), Joe Jackson (co-founder of SOFT), Kojo Sam (Network Engineer), Solomon Da Costa (Tigo), +nana kofi koomson (233Times), Sia German (IPMC), etc.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Takoradi eventbrite website ( You can also register by sending “Barcamp Takoradi, Your Name, Your Email Address” to 1945 on all mobile networks (example - Barcamp Takoradi Esi Eshun . Contact us via barcamp at ghanathink dot org for sponsorship or partnership opportunities. Barcamp Takoradi is supported by Takoradi Poly NSBE, Reach for Change, Curious Minds Ghana, Nandimobile, Empire 102.7 FM, Melody 91.1 FM, Spy Ghana.

Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter | Facebook| Google+

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10000+ reasons for you to submit your app to Vodafone Appstar, by November 21st

Have an app you've developed that you want more people to know about?
Want to win GHC10,000 to support monetizing your app and work?
Want to pit yourself against developers from other countries?
Want to have your app highlighted and featured in an appstore to be accessed by millions of users?

Then participate in the Vodafone Ghana App Star Contest. Deadline is November 21, 2014!

It's a mobile app competition to uncover creative and innovative app developers in Ghana and to offer them an opportunity to compete internationally with other developers. Let me save you the fine print details. Rights to your app remain with you, and you can have your app marketed to millions of Vodafone users. Imagine what getting a 1% conversion on that would mean for your efforts?

The AppStar competition is the latest signal of intent by +Vodafone Ghana to engage the tech community further. They've already organized meetups in various communities in Ghana (including the +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology & the +mFriday Tech Hub) to engage and promote the competition

This annual contest - first time with +Vodafone Ghana - is categorized into start-up and established developers. There's a fine line when it comes to these groupings in Ghana but it also strikes some healthy conversation about developer demand and experience in Ghana. Winners of the competition in each category in Ghana will be awarded prizes worth GHC10,000 and an all-expense paid trip to India to participate in the global App Star competition on 15th January, 2015. There, these two winners will be matched against winners from South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and India

The overall winners of the Vodafone AppStar competition (established and start-up) will win all-expense paid trips to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a congress which is one of the best places to be for people in the tech community worldwide. The second prize winners will receive USD 5,000 worth of Amazon Shopping vouchers. Other participants at the Global level will receive devices from Vodafone. Here's the real kicker though - all winners will receive free advertisements on Vodafone Group’s app store. That's millions of people accessing your app. Oh, I mentioned this already? It's just that important for you to know.

App developers in Ghana can participate by registering on the Vodafone App Star  to submit their apps. Sorry for making you read this long before giving you the website. The deadline is this next Friday - November 21, 2014. But don't fret. You have an app built already, submit it. I've not seen an app competition with as much bang for buck and as much value for being open, yet.

Submit your old or new app to the Vodafone #AppStarGH competition

Sometime at the end of September, #appstargh was trending in Ghana on Twitter. Many got curious. We wouldn't have gotten to this point if Ghanaians hadn't applied their creativity. Recent times have shown that Ghanaians are comedians and will make fun of many things. In fact, you could say Ghanaians are jokers - in positive and negative ways. There was one huge beneficiary either you looked at this particular issue - AppStar GH. Turned out it's about Vodafone's App Star mobile app competition. Now, this competition is not a joke. It has some great incentives tied to it in unearthing more great Ghanaian built mobile applications. But before we delve further, you'll want to read these tweets

There's not much to say after these tweets. Is there? Ghanaians are ingenuous with words. I really admire Vodafone's social media work over the course of this year. I was featured in one of their campaigns earlier this year - #AskAto where I answered many questions about myself and social media. I blogged about it here. These campaigns are run by the folks at Echo Haus, who are doing an awesome job on social media. Social media gurus be that.

We have to show we are ingenuous with our skills as well. Some of the apps mentioned above should be pretty easy to build. There's 10,000 GHC waiting for you at the end of the competition. Go on. Build it app. Learn more about the Vodafone AppStar competition at The deadline is November 21, 2014. This next Friday. You've built an app. Submit it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The 5th Barcamp Kumasi is here! Stay tuned to #BCKSI

Wow, so this is going to be the 5th +Barcamp Kumasi! I missed the first one though in 2010, when +Nana Kwabena Owusu +Teresa Lemaire +Kwamena Appiah-Kubi +Kofi Ulzen-Appiah +Carl Nutsugah and co were premiering it. We've come far. It's sad Eli Aidam won't be here with us for this event - the Ho & Volta region champion I've known - he passed away earlier this year in Kumasi. We'll have a minute of silence for him. He's a hero, like the many others we'll be celebrating this Saturday at +Barcamp Kumasi. Register and join us for Barcamp Kumasi at the College of Science Auditorium at KNUST on November 1st. This follows two Kumasi Konnect events. The organizing team behind that +kofi yeboah +priscilla sarfo-frimpong +Rasheeda Yehuza +Prince Boadu +joseph osei have been joined the ringleader +sampson deklu +Watson Bedzrah and co. Kumasi is buzzing as a result of many +GhanaThink Foundation led initiatives.
I grew up in Oseikrom and I love going back, to be with my family (now mostly parents) and reminisce. It's important that we champion the ability of young people to succeed while remaining in Kumasi. A supportive community is necessary, and the +Barcamp Ghana program continues to build a network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana and beyond. I expect a great +Barcamp Ghana event. Read the press release below

Barcamp Kumasi 2014 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Kumasi, Ghana and beyond. It takes place on November 1, 2014 at the College of Science of Auditorium, KNUST. The theme for this year is "Youth Entrepreneurship: Celebrating Our Heroes". This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 37 BarCamps in Ghana. BarCamp Kumasi 2014 will be a celebration of heroes who are increasing the narrative of successful entreprises and vibrant opportunities in Kumasi. This 5th Barcamp In Kumasi is continues to our network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs via the Barcamp Ghana program. Ato Ulzen-Appiah, director of the GhanaThink Foundation, chips in: After two Kumasi Konnect  events, Barcamp Kumasi returns to amplify local success stories.

As usual, we will have multiple user-generated breakout sessions about topics relevant to the Ashanti Region and beyond. Our speed mentoring session will help participants gain insights and answers to questions. Our confirmed mentors include +Gamel Sankarl (Author), Rick B. Okyere (EVOLV.Africa), +Rosalin Abigail Kyere-Nartey (Rosak Consult), Asantewa Monney (Clean Team), +Jorge Appiah (Creativity Group), +Abigail Aruna \ (Clean Team), Frank Boateng (Darko Fresh), +Albert Yaw Opoku (HapaWeb), Dr +Edinam Gaveh (KATH), +mildred ofosu-ennin  (Fashion Designer), +Johannes Arthur (Artist), +Justin Dakorah (Doctor), +woedem dzogbefia (Architect), Comfort Opoku Anima (OWEC Ghana), +David Asiamah (AgroMindset), +Winnifred Selby (Ghana Bamboo Bikes), etc

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Kumasi eventbrite website ( or text "Barcamp Kumasi [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network. Contact us via barcamp at ghanathink dot org for for sponsorship or partnership opportunities.

BarCamp Kumasi 2014 is sponsored by SCISA (KNUST), Reach for Change, Google, Bridge of Hope Limited, Clean Team Ghana, mPedigree, Saazaa Shoes, Nandimobile, Blaqsheep, etc. Our media partners are the Ultimate Radio & Spy Ghana. Join us to move the Ashanti Region and Ghana forward. Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter |Facebook | Google+

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ato Ulzen-Appiah's profile

The time has come to host my profile somewhere on the web. There's no better place to start than here. :-)

Profile of Ato Ulzen-Appiah
Ato Ulzen-Appiah is an entrepreneur, manager and blogger. He hails from Elmina, grew up in Kumasi and lives in Accra. A notable alumni of Presec, he studied at MIT for his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and had his Master's degree at Stanford in construction and engineering management. 

He currently works at Rancard as product manager building new revenue services off its platform, in charge of payments and content hosting. He oversaw the launch of the Intel Explore & Learn application and the building of the African Leadership Network gathering application.

He's the director at the GhanaThink Foundation which mobilizes and organizes talent for the primary benefit of Ghana
. GhanaThink, since its inception, has given birth to Kasahorow and Museke. It currently runs the Barcamp Ghana program (37 events since 2008) from which the Junior Camp Ghana program was created (7 events since 2013). Through GhanaThink, he also initiated National Volunteer Day, which is now part of the Ghana Volunteer Program.

He's a member of the Global Shapers Accra Hub, part of the World Economic Forum community, which organizes the Accra Discourse. 
He worked at Google as a program manager building sustainable tech communities in Africa, overseeing scores of tech events around the continent.

co-founded -an African music website, with a focus of lyrics and has been called the 'African Music Bible'. Through Museke, he organized 2 African music awards and the website had content from over 45 African countries.

One of Ghana's top bloggers, he blogs about personal experiences and things of interest at He's very passionate about Ghana and Africa. He exhibits this through social media greatly, having started the #233moments and #IMGBT trends, the latter of which stands for "I Made Ghana Better Today". 

Friday, October 24, 2014

The 4th Barcamp Ho is here! #bcho

Barcamp Ho is always epic! This year, we celebrate the living memory of the biggest Ho & Volta region champion I've known - the late Eli Aidam. He was a strong coordinator for Barcamp Ho and the centre aorund which many other great initiatives in the Volta region revolved. The 4th Barcamp in Ho is happening this Saturday, in a new location. The University of Health & Allied Sciences. This is one of the freshest public universities in Ghana and the +GhanaThink Foundation is happy to host +Barcamp Ho there as it grows. This will be our 37th +Barcamp Ghana event we grow a network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs. The team has grown and is ably led by +Courage Christson Tetteh+Gameli Adzaho is back in Ghana after his Masters in the UK and contributing a lot. +Ousman Saidy who is a community IT leader in Ho is part of the team, alongside +Elvis Bomasah who is shining in his online role. +Shika Brown was a volunteer last year and has a major role. UHAS being the venue has given +Precious Adade +Harry Akligoh & +Mark Hammond.
Like I said before, Barcamp Ho is always epic! Ask +Francis Addai for instance. And +Mabel Blankson. More on this subject later :-) +Eyram Tawia always shows us a good time, with kenkey parties and all. +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor is the life of the party. +Party Crew was christened in Ho after a bloody good party.  +David Nikoi +Donald Ward & +Nehemiah Attigah rep. We will be missing +Ali Bukari Ma├»ga greatly o! Read the press release below

GhanaThink to Lead Youth Development and Entrepreneurship in Ho
Barcamp Ho 14 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Ho, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on October 25, 2014 at the Auditorium of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) near the Volta Regional Hospital (Trafalgar). The theme for this year is "Re-Educating Ourselves for the New Entrepreneurial World”. This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, develop a supportive enterprising community, and partner to build together.

Barcamp Ho 2014 follows 36 successful BarCamps in Ghana organized by the GhanaThink Foundation as part of its Barcamp Ghana project. This will be the fourth Barcamp in Ho and we are dedicating this year’s event to the memory of Eli Yao Aidam, a Barcamp Ho pioneer. Eli was the heartbeat of GhanThink’s activities in the Volta region; he used his influence in Centre for Creative Youth and other networks to the benefit of the movement in the region. We hope his selflessness will inspire a new generation of entrepreneurial civic leaders in our communities.

This year’s event aims to showcase how Ghana’s youth can identify, utilize and develop opportunities. Specifically, the role of personal development in skills development and entrepreneurship would be explored across sectors. Through Barcamp Ho 2014, we hope to ignite fresh thinking, collaboration, and a hand-on approach to development in the Volta region and beyond.

Attendees get to choose from or lead multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, health, education, technology and development. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Some of the resource persons include Dr Archibald Letsa, Juliet Nugble (V.P FM), +Prince Kotoko (IT Specialist), Frederick Duodo Takyi (Daily Guide), Bismark Tay (Leadership Coach), King Norbet Akpabli (Citi FM), Solomon Adade (Dietician), +Dzidudu Darkey-Mensah (Playwright), Leonard Lumor (Presenter / Actor), +Makafui Nyamadi (GCOM), +Awo Crankson (Edwina Kafui), etc.

Register/RSVP at the Barcamp Ho Eventbrite website ( or text "Barcamp Ho + [name] + [email address]” to 1945 through any mobile network. You may also contact the Barcamp Ho team through the Eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

Barcamp Ho 2014 is supported by University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are Volta Premier Radio and Spy Ghana. Join us to move the Volta Region and Ghana forward.

Stay tuned via our social media.

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