By Yawa Osebreh, Class of 2006
If there is a place in the world where the computer industry is flourishing, then "Silicon Valley" comes to mind first. This technological landmass is the headquarters of over a thousand computer companies. Therefore, it is not surprising that Gregg Pascal Zachary chose to share with students, staff and faculty of Ashesi the possibilities of turning Accra, the capital of Ghana, into the next Information Technology (IT) hub. Mr. Zachary, who is a visiting scholar at Columbia University's Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, cited the explosion in the communications sector in Ghana as well as the increasing number of IT professionals as factors that could lift Accra to become the next "Silicon Valley."
Mr. Zachary lamented the lack of "a sense of urgency" in the government to help develop the IT sector as one of the major challenges that must be overcome to realize this dream. He enumerated a sound economic outlook and a progressive society among the benefits that favor Accra as becoming the technological nucleus of Africa.
To encourage further IT growth in Ghana, Gregg Zachary believes that development should not be pursued in a holistic approach but in smaller units: one city at a time. He proposed a development concept he referred to as "Nokia." He argued that Ghana should challenge itself with the question, "What is our Nokia?" - a question that will lead Ghanaians to find a technology niche where they can be successful. He encouraged Ashesi's students, as a new generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders, to consider the IT potential of Ghana and to answer that question for our nation. In his closing remarks he expressed confidence in Ashesi's curriculum, adding he has no doubt that Ashesi can prepare us for this arduous task.