May, 2013 GMT
By Jonathan Kalan
Five years ago, BusyInternet, West Africa’s largest Internet provider, opened an Internet café in Ghana’s capital, Accra. It had a lounge featuring 100 computers, and Ghanaians from all walks of life would pay about 50 cents an hour to use its high-speed connection. With Internet penetration in Ghana at about 10% in 2011, according to government statistics, BusyInternet was one of the few places young folks could go to get online.
Mac-Jordan Degadjor, 26, is one of Ghana’s preeminent technology and social media bloggers and Ghana’s first Internet Freedom Fellow. The fellowship is awarded by the US State Department to individuals who champion freedom of expression and assembly online. He remembers how this single space sparked a revolution in Ghana’s tech scene. “BusyInternet opened a lot of doors for young people living in Ghana,” he told Africa Renewal. “People came together. It became sort of a hub.”
Many of Ghana’s young tech entrepreneurs and bloggers used the space to learn — online and from each other — and to shape a young tech community. They held BarCamps (informal networking forums for young techies) and founded BloggingGhana, a community of bloggers with a passion for Ghanaian content.
According to the US Embassy in Accra, which gave Degadjor the fellowship, these initiatives served to “inspire youth to get online wherever and however they can, making sure they have Ghanaian peers available to walk them through tech challenges.”
By 2008 it was clear that Accra’s vibrant young tech community needed more institutional development. This led to the founding of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), which offers a two-year programme on training and mentoring for aspiring African software entrepreneurs. Successful companies have emerged from MEST, including NandiMobile, which provides mobile marketing and customer support for local businesses. Nearly all the entrepreneurs at MEST are in their mid-twenties.
Yet business is not the only thing emerging from Ghana’s young tech scene. @GhanaDecides, a movement monitoring Ghana’s elections via social media, received international acclaim during the run-up to Ghana’s 2012 general election for fostering a better-informed electorate. It advocated free, fair and safe elections. It ran online election-related campaigns and provided offline social media training for youth groups, civil society organizations and public institutions.
January 31, 2013 GMT
By US Embassy Ghana
The Internet Freedom Fellows program brings human rights activists from across the globe to Geneva, Washington, and Silicon Valley to meet with fellow activists, U.S. and international government leaders, and members of civil society and the private sector engaged in technology and human rights.
A key goal of the program is to share experiences and lessons learned on the importance of a free Internet to the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as fundamental human rights. Launched in 2011, the program is run by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
Mac-Jordan Degadjor is one of Ghana’s most skilled social media advocates. An executive of BloggingGhana, Mac-Jordan promotes the freedom of expression through blogs and social media both on and off-line. He together with other forward-leaning Ghanaians have organized 18 BarCamps across Ghana since 2009 inspiring youth to get on-line where ever and however they can, making sure they have Ghanaian peers available to walk them through tech challenges.
We congratulate Mr. Degadjor and appreciate his participation in the West African Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Workshop #CyberSecWA Internet Freedom panel held in Ghana January 29 â 31, 2013.
We look forward to following him @MacJordaN and on this blog http://macjordangh.com/ as he meets with other international online activists and shares his uniquely Ghanaian perspective with the Internet Freedom Fellows #IFF2013.
- U.S. Embassy Congratulates Mac-Jordan Degadjor (modernghana.com)
Feb 1st, 2012 6:00 PM UTC
By Garth Moore
Mac-Jordan Degadjor is a Ghanaian social media entrepreneur and rising star among global tech bloggers. The 26-year-old recently spoke about the positive effects of social media at the TEDxYouthInspire conference in Ghana’s capital city of Accra and was spotlighted in the Christian Science Monitor’s “Thirty Ideas from People Under 30.” We asked Mac-Jordan to explain why mobile tech advancements are important for Ghana’s economic and social growth.
Why is Ghana ready for a mobile technology boom? Are investors looking to Ghana as a market ready to advance with mobile?
Anytime I’m asked if Ghana is ready for the mobile technology boom, my answer is always YES. In Ghana, there are two major organizations providing locals with the business and technology skills they need to leverage ideas into successful mobile web companies: Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology and Mobile Web Ghana.
New opportunities are showing up that make it possible for low-income economies to leapfrog other countries by adopting technologies that are suitable to their specific circumstances. I’m happy to say that Ghana is taking that bold step in adopting new mobile technologies. Take a critical look at the continent: Africa has more than 110 million Internet users, a number that is poised to grow by 2400 percent in this decade alone.
Jan 1st, 2012
By Scott Baldauf
Thirty ideas from people under 30: The Social Media Stars
Mac-Jordan Degadjor: Blog man of Ghana
Few Ghanaians had Internet access, and even fewer had their own computers.
Mobile phones were available, but all they could really do was make phone calls. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, were still years away. But thanks in part to the promotional work of bloggers like Mr. Degadjor, Ghana is gaining attention as a growing center of high-tech innovation in Africa.
Degadjor – a 26-year-old social media entrepreneur with a passion for Internet and mobile-phone solutions – is one of Ghana’s most prolific writers on technology, with an eye on Ghana’s economic potential.