Tech and sustainable development in Ghana

Good interview with Ethan Zuckerman, the founder of Geekcorps, on how technology and sustainable development meet each other.

There were two very real reasons for Net connectivity in Ghana. One was communication with the diaspora. So many Ghanaians live in Europe and the U.S. that email is a very effective way of bridging that gap. The other thing was the notion that there could be a market for Ghanian goods and services worldwide, and that market was going to be a lot more reachable online than it would be from any other medium.

But it was a very weird time because you'd find a cyber-cafe and there would be computers and staff but no electrical power, or computers and power but no telephone lines, or everything you needed but no one to plug things in and make them all work together. And across the board I felt you had an abundance of entrepreneurs who were willing to try things but they had a real lack of skill sets. So that was the problem I was interested in: Could we find a way to do skill transfers between people in the IT industries in the U.S. and Ghana?

Obviously, the project expanded from there. While Ghana continues to be a flagship presence for us, we also have a large presence in Mongolia. We have smaller programs in Rwanda and Jordan, and we're doing some work in Armenia and Bulgaria. At this point we work in a dozen nations in total.



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