Monday, 3 October 2016

Elon Musk and Mars colonization...

I rarely write articles these days because of my hectic work and travel schedule but I hope next year I will be able to share my experiences as a technology entrepreneur from Ghana and my hope to solve Africa's problem with technology. I am currently in Berlin for the next few weeks !

I posted this article originally on my facebook wall.

A few months ago I spoke to Brian Lim a technologist who has founded several startups in the
satellite & aerospace industry in the last decade and asked him about his thoughts on Elon Musk's SpaceX projects. In his view there hasn't been much innovation in the aerospace industry since humans went to space in the 1960's and Elon Musk is a genius who is disrupting and making it faster , less expensive and convenient for aerospace travels.

I watched Elon Musk's keynote on making Humans a multiplanetary species and you can see below ( video ) a simulation of how humans will be transported to Mars at a cost of $ 10 Billion per person and the first flight might take off in 2022. This is simply amazing and some of us are seeing our childhood dreams come to life. The cost is very high just like every other technology ( computers, printers , mobile phones ) in the beginning but im sure it might go as low as $100 k per person in the next 30 - 50 years. Elon who is a South African born entrepreneur is building the future with science and technology.

I cant wait to see what the trials , pilot and further simulations will look like in the next few years. In the end I believe humans will give the instructions and machines will carry out the action. I salute and i'm inspired by Elon Musk !

Monday, 1 February 2016

Developing Bisa, your ultimate Health app...

It's 2016 and I am still very busy but productive as usual. I get about 2 - 3 hours sleep a day (around 4 - 6/7am). I am working on really exciting projects and my business is doing so well. Our core focus at my company Oasis Websoft apart from delivering quality software solutions to clients is to research and develop technology solutions that can impact society positively.

We deployed Bisa in the last quarter of 2015.  Bisa means “ask” in the Ghanaian twi language. Bisa is a mobile application that allows users with an android or windows phone to interact directly with medical practitioners without having physical contact; an advantage to people who have health concerns but are shy to talk to a doctor face to face about.

Based on our research we came to the understanding that most people do not like to visit hospital for check up for various reasons. Some of these reasons include the long queue system at the hospitals. Also for the fear of stigmatization, most people especially those who suffer symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) scarcely visit the hospital. The act of self medication among Ghanaians have become a serious threat to our existence especially the use and abuse of painkillers, antibiotics and aphrodisiac products. The phenomenon is thriving due to the busy nature of the working class and general poverty among the people, especially those in the deprived areas, making it impossible for a number of them to visit the hospital for medical care.

Bisa is available on android play store , apple app store and also windows phone store. A feature is also available in the application that allows users to ask a doctor a question. Users can also attach or take a photo of any part of their body they are concerned about. Our doctors will then review these questions and respond within twenty four hours.

Stats on installs of Bisa for Android by Country (Total 2,024)
We have six official doctors. Over  two thousand , five hundred people have downloaded Bisa on their smart phones. Our doctors have answered over one thousand questions from individuals who are curious about various health conditions that they are facing. Questions range from simple everyday health myth to serious health challenges including respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive and psychological health problems they are facing. Response rate is hundred percent and usually within a twenty four hour period. So far,  60% of Bisa users who have had their queries answered by our doctors have given us good feedback. They were generally very appreciative and will recommend Bisa to their friends to utilize the platform.

We now have a new arm of Oasis Websoft called Oasis Multimedia. They are in charge of video productions, documentary and short films , drone projects ,photography and graphic designing. They recently produced a short interview with Dr Dennis Addo, Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer of Bisa.

We have a very vibrant facebook page with over 4,000 likes. Follow our page for updates - Bisa Facebook. We believe we have started a health revolution in Ghana that will grow and make a greater impact. You can support this revolution by reaching out to us Your support will be crucial to the success of this health revolution. Payment modules may be introduced in the future but we believe if we can get your support, we can keep most aspects of the app free and make a big impact. Learn more about Bisa here 

I will be publishing more blog articles this year about my work , future projects and many more exciting things. I might share a few tips from my entrepreneurial journey as well. Happy new year !!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Why Paypal ignored Ghana ?

In the early 2000's in most west African countries including Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal when the internet cafe was a new phenomenon, many youngsters spent most of their time at the cyber cafe surfing the internet. There was however a worrying trend that began to take wave in most of these internet cafes. The young men found darknet websites that gave them unlimited access to credit and mastercard details of people in Europe and America. They used this details to shop for clothing , gadgets from ecommerce websites like Ebay and Amazon. When shipping of the goods were not allowed directly to Africa the fraudsters would use their family and friends abroad as middle men / passage routes to receive the products and further ship it to them in Ghana and their respective countries. Most of these poor and disadvantaged youth found a gold mine in this trade and they spent almost 24 hours shopping and fishing for credit card details to scam. Others went as far as using the paypal accounts of vulnerable account holders to orchestrate this dubious activity.

Somewhere around 2004 after thousands of legitimate users of Paypal , amazon and ebay complained about unusual purchases and huge sums of money were getting lost in their accounts. These technology giants decided it was time to curb this fraudulent activity of credit card fraud. They simultaneously decided to blacklist so many West African countries from using the platform for their illicit activities. Some of the countries that were blacklisted included Ghana , Nigeria and many other African countries. Over the next decade that followed it was impossible for people resident in Ghana and the other blacklisted to make or receive payments on the PayPal platform. With many online merchants using PayPal, sometimes exclusively, to receive payments for products and services, Ghana's 24 million people, like many more in other blacklisted countries, were unable to transact business.

If you are wondering what Paypal is , paypal according to their official website was founded in 1998, they continue to be at the forefront of the digital payments revolution, processing almost 11.5 million payments for their customers per day. PayPal gives people better ways to connect to their money and to each other, helping them send money without sharing financial information and with the flexibility to pay using their PayPal account balances, bank accounts, PayPal Credit and credit cards. With about 162 million active digital wallets, they have created an open and secure payments ecosystem people and businesses choose to securely transact with each other online, in stores and on mobile devices. PayPal is a truly global payments platform that is available to people in 203 markets, allowing customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies.

Fast forward to 2015, the year of the digital revolution where smart phones are not seen by many Ghanaians as a luxury but instead a necessity. You should by now understand the immense role paypal would play in our cashless society. We live in a time that many Ghanaian entrepreneurs with innovative products and services would offer real value to buyers around the world and contribute to economic development locally, are now been cut off from much of the world where PayPal is a major platform for receiving payments. This is anti-business. Similarly, there are lots of social enterprises and charities that are working to improve lives and communities in Ghana and around Africa that are unable to accept donations via PayPal. All over world, online donations have powered a variety of social innovations and charity projects. Being blacklisted means many innovative social enterprises and charities in Ghana are deprived access to potential donors. This isn't progressive. This are the words of Samuel Darko, a District Rotaract Representative.

In 2013 many African youth decided to use social media and other mediums to gain the attention of Paypal. I will name two of the notable campaigns whose aim was for paypal to be brought to their respective countries. One of them is the outspoken change maker Samuel Darko whom I mentioned earlier on. He started an online petition here to make it impossible for people resident in Ghana to make or receive payments on the PayPal platform. His target was 5,000 signatures and was able to get about 2,486 signatures and a lot of social media buzz. The second campaign was started by a Nigerian company called Creativity Kills , founded by Neo Ighodaro and they were also able to gain 597 supporters. These initiatives were very essential proving that the new African is able to take the necessary steps for them to be heard.

These campaigns gained a lot of recognition but paypal was unresponsive for a long while until they finally decided to hear the plea of certain countries. According to Rupert Keeley, the executive in charge of the EMEA region of PayPal, as at Tuesday 17th of June, 2014 users from Nigeria and other countries from sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America were finally given access to be able to use the online payment platform. That meant that PayPal now is been used in 203 countries.

This came as a shock to the Ghanaian technology community since we also petitioned and were blacklisted along with Nigeria but they were given access to the platform but not us. It made a little sense since Nigeria now has the fastest economy in Africa and as well one of Africa biggest country with a population of 173.6 million as of 2013. Ghana on the other have a lesser population of about 25 million.

In my humble opinion the reason paypal ignored us was that we made a lot of noise internally on only our social networks especially our social circles about the petition and as a result the message did not get to the right desk at the Paypal offices. We should have instead made good use of institutions like the Ministry of foreign affairs to intervene on our behalf and as well went further on to get the message out there to the our networks in the Diaspora about the rise of young Ghanaian entrepreneurs who paypal will further enhance their work on a global platform.

FYI:A representative of Paypal, last week revealed that, apart from South Africa, Nigeria is the second largest market for their payment solution, followed by Kenya.

“We are happy to see that PayPal has been widely welcomed by Nigerians since the launch of the service in the country last year,” the Head of Business Development Sub-Saharan Africa, Malvina Goldfeld said. 

Till then some of us will use resources available to us to bring paypal back to Ghana.

This story appeared on yesterday's edition of the General Telegraph. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Most African countries and emerging economies over the last decade have used Information
Technology to transform their economies. A typical example is Kenya, Kenya in Africa is
leading the world in mobile money via M-Pesa. M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for
money) is a mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing service, launched in
2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in
Kenya and Tanzania. ( Wikipedia ) One study found that in rural Kenyan households that
adopted M-PESA, incomes increased by 5-30%. In addition, the availability of a reliable
mobile-payments platform has spawned a host of technology start-ups in Nairobi that is
creating jobs for the youth, whose business models build on M-PESA’s foundations.
Information Technology alone cannot be used on it's own to solve our problems but it can be
integrated into other sectors like health, transportation and education to build solutions.

As a matter of fact African states have to critically look inward to bring down all barriers that in
one way or another hinder intra-Africa trade, before development can be achieved for the
continent. We need not herein reiterate that the activities of exploitative foreign companies
have rendered Africa poor and underdeveloped. In the greedy hunt for our resources, these
companies exploit our labour, our land and our minds. Most African governments spend
millions of dollars importing software and technologies for their ministries and other sectors
whereas if they gave the same opportunity to budding local firms , they will be able to build
and customize the system to suit their specifications at a cheaper cost. It is very important for
Africans to build technological solutions to solve our own problems.

We should embrace technology and new media as a way to preserve our rich heritage and
tell the African story our way. We are tired of Africa being labeled as a continent of war, AIDS
and now Ebola. Technology has the capacity to transform our story on the open web.

Africa has the youngest population in the world. The current trend indicates that this figure will
double by 2045, according to the 2012 African Economic Outlook report prepared by experts
from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the industrialized countries’ Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), among others. We should not neglect the
work of young entrepreneurs and small and medium scale enterprise (SME's) using
technologies like mobile phones and SMS/USSD to solve key problems. I want to highlight on
the work of some of these companies in Africa. Ushahidi is is a non-profit software company
that develops free and open-source software (LGPL) for information collection, visualization,
and interactive mapping. Ushahidi (Swahili for "testimony" or "witness") created a website in
the aftermath of Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election that collected eyewitness reports
of violence reported by email and text message and placed them on a Google Maps map.
iROKOtv is a web platform that provides free and paid-for Nigerian films on-demand. It is one
of Africa’s first mainstream online movie steaming websites, giving free and instant access to
over 5,000 Nollywood film titles. Farmerline is a Ghanaian technology product company that
builds supply chain and value chain solutions to integrate agricultural outputs of rural farmers
in Africa/emerging markets. Mpedigree's Goldkeys brings a set of mobile and web tools
together in one platform to provide brand owners with complete, real-time, control of key
events in their supply chain, therefore shutting out counterfeiters, fakers, pilferers, thieves,
and leaches of all kind, seeking to prey on your brand equity and investments in developing a
channel to reach your customers. Finally AnansiPedia a Ghanaian innovation by Oasis
Websoft. Anansipedia is an educative platform that allows the seamless sharing of
educational resources to help less privileged students in environments with little Information
Technology infrastructure to have ubiquitous access to better quality academic content. This
will help students in remote areas in one part of the world meet or get free
access to an article written by another student/researcher/tutor in Harvard to enhance
their learning process.

African leaders should start investing in locally made software and technology because it is our terrain and we know the best way to innovate frugally. Intra-African trade can offer real opportunities to improve the quality of life in Africa. It is also
important to deepen our level of reflection on community dynamics and on the constraints
encountered when introducing and using Information Technology for development.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Do Africans Dream about electric sheep ?

Over the last decade successful technology brands have transformed businesses and industries. It has also created wealth for its shareholders, employees and founders. The two of the world's most valuable brands are both Information technology companies namely Apple and Microsoft with their brand revenues at 170.9 billion US Dollars and 86.7 billion US Dollars respectively according to Forbes. Many would attribute their success to their demographics, location , environment , government and other factors but the truth is both companies started out in a garage and they worked their way right from the bottom to the top.

Let me cast your minds back to when you were in Primary class four or five, a teacher walks up into the class and inquires from each and everyone to tell the class who they want to be in future. About 70 – 80 % will mention they want to be doctors, lawyers, judges, pilot , business men and women, you will rarely hear anyone say they want to be an astronaut, computer scientist or a neuroscientist. As youngsters our teachers and the elderly who society claim shape our culture and up-bring seldom introduce us to the possibilities of dreaming big and thinking outside the box. They believe this kinds of job description exist in Europe and the western world. You can't think of what you can't imagine - our creativity on the individual level is limited by the range of ideas we already have and understand, the scope of different experiences, the ability to draw on history to glean advice from dire times gone by. For societies such as those we have here in Africa, there is still much to be done to propagate knowledge and education, to fill the people's minds with dreams to fire their imaginations. Dreams of an end to hunger, for water and energy to be affordable and for the opportunity to live on an honest day's work. Dreams of a manifest destiny.

Ancient Chinese scientists, mathematicians and doctors made significant advances in science, technology, mathematics, and astronomy. Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine were also developed through empirical observation and scientific experimentation. Among the earliest Chinese inventions were the abacus, the "shadow clock," and the first items such as Kongming lanterns. The Four Great Inventions: the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing, were among the most important technological advances, only known to Europe by the end of the Middle Ages 1000 years later. The Tang Dynasty (AD 618 - 906) in particular, was a time of great innovation. ( Wikipedia ) A good deal of exchange occurred between Western and Chinese discoveries up to the Qing Dynasty. There are few things we can learn from this Chinese history here, one is that they started from inventing smaller things and moved gradually until all the goods we now import into our dear continent are fueled by them. They invested a lot into into science and technology. Africa should encourage and find unprecedented ways of teaching science and technology that the newer generation will find much interest in it.

Societies which were built on the results of the scientific revolution, where the free and unfettered flow of information, publishing of results, replication of results and the absence of the profit motive changed the lives of billions, have now created obstacles to the flow and ownership of knowledge.

I have been in contact with a 16 year old student in one of our senior high schools in Ghana. He sent me an email expressing interest for me to be his mentor. He has managed to teach himself computer programming. He has skills in website and software development. I was surprised when he told me ICT is being discourage in Senior High schools and it is an optional elective that at the end of your three years SHS program does not fall part of the WASSCE exams. Apparently most lecturers advice their students not to take ICT because it will be a “waste of time” ( in terms of learning ) that will not be a part of their final examination. I am wondering if this so called teachers have email addresses or even study online to find contemporary ways of impacting knowledge to the student or if they understand the benefits of Google, wikipedia and the internet an a whole.

This young man who contacted me comes from the cheetah generation as Prof. George Ayittey a renowned Ghanaian economist will call. A cheetah generation is the fast-moving, entrepreneurial leaders and citizens who will rebuild Africa in the next century. Every week I receive up to 3 emails from different people who have amazing ideas but need a technical person/company to bring their ideas to life. Imagine if all these people had the logical skills to build the innovative ideas they have: Ghana would change rapidly. After-all no body understands your ideas like you do. I always say that if you want things to change, you can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen by themselves, you have to act. Computers don’t change human nature. ICT can catalyze and amplify real world change. There are no career paths in this world that doesn't have a tech back-end. Now kayaaye ( Street Hawkers ) use mobile phones. I am saddened technology is been discourage in Senior High Schools by Teachers. I wonder where Africa’s Gold is: In our earth or in our minds? This kind of behavior is replicated in most African societies where people are discourage to adopt technology. It is clear to me that there are compelling reasons to use technology in the African context.

If you are still wondering what an electric is ? An Electric Sheep is a distributed computing project for animating and evolving fractal flames, which are in turn distributed to the networked computers, which display them as a screensaver.


The above article was published today in the General telegraph newspaper - Monday the 24th of November. I am now a technology columnist with the General telegraph and my articles on technology are published every Monday. You can find my column on page 22. Dont forget to grab a copy each and every Monday from the nearest newspaper stand. Cheers. 

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
― Mark Twain

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Touching base.....

It's been a while since my last log post. I have been busy working on new projects like Anansipedia is an educative platform that would bring students, scholars, lecturers and everyone who seeks education or information together, and also it allows the sharing of educational resources to help less privileged students around the world to also have access to world class educational resources. Go to for more. I also joined fellow techies and health professionals to build and deploy  It's a platform that aims to provide people in Ghana with a reliable and easy-to-use application for the tracking, training and disseminating of information to the general public about the Ebola virus.  Our official USSD dial for the Ebola Ghana Alert (EBA) has been set up:Kindly type *713*444# currently available on MTN and Airtel. Tentatively, there are three (3) live menus with content for quick facts, diagnosis, and daily updates. Go to  for more or you can view the source code here .

On the 8th of October was my birthday and I spent my birthday morning @ TV Africa on the Day Break tv show for an interview. I talked about technology adoption , OasisWebSoft , made in Ghana technology , ICT and many more. See below the interview. I spent the rest of the day with my family ! A big thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday via facebook , sms and email etc. Thanks for the continuous support !

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

My article "AGONY OF AN AFRICAN PROGRAMMER" goes viral online.

In October 2012, I wrote an article about the challenges of most African coders which is loosely based on my own journey. Almost two years later a South African journalist Tefo Mohapi chanced upon it and decided to repost it online. His website has received about 6,000 unique visitors. Now the article is out there and has been featured on the prestigious Hacker News and iAfrican ,  Geek Time  , TheNewAfrica , Daily Newz plus many more blogs  .

It has received both positive feedback and constructive criticisms.

Plus many more tweets here.

I wrote this article in 2012 and would have loved to make so many changes to it, since I have learnt a lot through my entrepreneurial journey. The bottom line is as African coders we are faced with so many challenges from the onset but we must hunker down and build something awesome that will make sense to the users and solve key problems.