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Laura Davis, Co-CEO of Renew Capital, visited Accra for the first time in over 12 years. She shares her experience of one of Africa's bustling metropolises and what has changed since her last visit. We’re hiring in Ghana! Apply for our Investment Ecosystem Development Manager role here

Ghana's Entrepreneurial Pulse: My Perspective

By Laura Davis | Thu Oct 19 2023
Rediscovering Ghana's lively capital city and entrepreneurial landscape 
Ghana. It was my second time to visit (the last time was more than 12 years ago), and after a few days, I finally started to get a decent feel for the capital, Accra. It’s a sprawling region of 5.4 million according to Ghana Statistical Service and somehow without much of a bell curve shaping the skyline. 
The city’s business center seems to have shifted over the years, according to some, from the original city center near the chaotic Makola Market neighborhood to the Airport neighborhood and increasingly towards an area called Cantonments/Labone.
  • Perhaps it's not really that different from many other African capitals where there are various pockets of modernity and innovation, but generally the density of such elements seems to be low. 
Our four-year-old Brooklyn says the difference between Ghana and Ethiopia where we’ve been living for almost 12 years, is the lady head porters (called kayayei locally) carrying everything imaginable with unparalleled strength and grace in the sweltering weather. And she currently loves talking about her disappointment with the trash she encountered on the beaches we visited. But of course, there are lots of other things to mention, both good and challenging from my perspective. 
  • The start-up scene is fragmented and nascent - There are definitely good things happening in pockets around the city, and good energy, but it’s not a compact ecosystem and there’s a fair amount of congestion and traffic in between these pockets of start-up energy.
  • There are lots of eager donors - But not too many massive entrepreneurial successes to point to yet. At least not that many that I heard of. 
  • The Impact Hub Ghana has a great vibe. It’s located in the Osu neighborhood and has attracted several international companies like Glovo to HQ there.
  • The government is prioritizing entrepreneurship with various efforts underway to provide a legal framework for startups and support through various organizations such as the Venture Capital Trust Fund and the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), among others. 
If you have the pleasure of a visit to Accra, Ghana, here are a few tourist recommendations that will give you a sense of the country's great history and vibe
  • The Green Butterfly Market opens every first and third Saturday of the month at the Department of Parks and Gardens and features food and products from local artisans. 
  • The Ghana National Mosque Complex hosts an impressive replica of Turkey’s Blue Mosque, a gift from the people of Turkey.
  • The West Hills Mall, supposedly one of the biggest malls in Accra was honestly a bit low on energy but could be interesting for anyone who wants to take a short drive (on a Sunday) outside the city center.
  • Makola Market - Beautiful, colorful, amazing chaos. My takeaway - this country has hustle! Need I say more? 
  • Independence Arch is a beautiful piece of art that’s part of the Independence Square which memorializes Ghana’s independence struggle. 
  • Osu Castle and the fishing villages nearby. Its history as a slave outpost among many others like it in Ghana is beyond hard to swallow, but also part of the story that must be acknowledged. 
  • Oxford Street - Of course, there’s an “I Love Accra” sign that makes for great pictures, but also the street captures the dynamic hustle of the city’s residents and has plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy.
Overall, looking forward I wish for more success stories in Accra. I see its great potential, and I believe there’s a future for Renew Capital and our Angels in beautiful Ghana. If you are interested in a role with us, we are currently inviting passionate and qualified candidates to apply to join our team as an Investment Ecosystem Development Manager in Ghana. 
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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