2004: GCG Year in Review
We have returned to New York and are pleased to confirm the reports you have received that the mission Ghana Cyber Group so skillfully arranged, provided us with major opportunities to explore the technology Park prospects for Ghana, more opportunities than we ever expected. Our conclusion is: on the basis of the information that we could gather on a one-week visit, we cannot imagine that another African country could have more assets that Ghana possesses relevant to a science and technology park. http://www.ghanacybergroup.com/2004Review.htm
~ UN COMMITTEE on Technology Parks, New York, New York, April 8, 2004
GCG's operations in 2004 was dominated by the Ghana Technology Park proposal as the group undergoes rigorous restructuring, shifting the focus away from capacity building in democracy and industrial development (an ambitious objective) to a more streamlined technology business model.
The original GCG concept was based on the simple premise that the 2.5 million Ghanaian expatriate community possess substantial power in financial resources and human capacity (expertise in technology, business, medicine), and that this power can and must be leveraged to develop private enterprise in Ghana.
GCG was founded in 1999. With the conviction that sustainable development in Ghana must be preceded by a functioning democracy, featuring an independent media, a professional police force, and a neutral judiciary spearheading a strong and impartial rule of law, the group aggressively campaigned for regime change in Ghana in 1999 and 2000. In February 2001, GCG leaders met in Washington for a 3-day summit and unanimously agreed to reform the group, replacing the emphasis on democracy with a dynamic business development undertaking. In January 2005, the United Nations is widely expected to officially announce its financial backing for the Ghana Technology Park project, as GCG, which now focuses exclusively on technology, initiates talks with Microsoft Corporation to shore up private corporate financial muscle for the tech park venture. JANUARY 2004 GCG invites a United Nations Advisory Committee on technology parks to visit Ghana in March 2004 to learn more about the country's budding IT economy and its readiness to host the first UN-financed technology park in Africa. This development follows the successful 2003 UN Forum on Science & Technology Parks, hosted in Philadelphia (November 30-December 3, 2003), during which GCG presented a proposal to build a technology park in Ghana. GCG solicits funding from Microsoft, Dell, IBM and other U.S. corporations to strengthen the expected UN partnership. FEBRUARY 2004 GCG announces final schedule, March 27-April 3, for the UN visit to Ghana and arranges for the delegates to meet government representatives and business leaders, including:
H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, President, Republic of Ghana
Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communications & Technology
Hon. Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade, Industry & Presidential Special Initiatives
Hon. Kasim Kasanga, Minister of Science & Environment
Chief Executive Kwasi Abeasi, Ghana Investment Promotion Center
Prof. Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor, University of Science & Technology MARCH 2004 A three-member United Nations Advisory Committee on technology parks arrives in Accra to begin due diligence work on the size, scope and location of the proposed Ghana Technology Park. They are accompanied by Neal Colton, a Pennsylvania corporate attorney, and Mark Horvit, an American journalist from the Star Telegram of Texas. APRIL 2004 Sam Eshun and Dr. Walter Alhassan, the former Director General of the Center for Scientific & Industrial Research, represent Ghana Cyber Group at the week-long GCG-UN-Govt summit. The UN visitors calls GCG representatives in the United States from the University of Science & Technology campus with a constructive review on their meeting with the Vice Chancellor and a visit to the faculties of engineering and computer science. The business tour of Kumasi and Accra ends on April 2. The impressed delegates return to the United States and invite GCG to a debriefing luncheon at the UN headquarters in New York.
The UN Committee writes: “We have returned to New York and are pleased to confirm the reports you have received that the mission Ghana Cyber Group so skillfully arranged, provided us with major opportunities to explore technology park prospects for Ghana, more opportunities than we ever expected. Our conclusion is: on the basis of the information that we could gather on a one-week visit, we cannot imagine that another African country could have more assets that Ghana possesses relevant to a science and technology park.” MAY 2004 GCG meets the UN team at the One United Nations Plaza in New York for a debriefing luncheon, an informal overview of the UN business trip to Ghana. GCG announces plans to host a conference to bring together corporate executives in the United States to learn about the growing IT economy in Ghana, and to encourage participating firms to join the Ghana Tech Park venture as financial partners. The UN Committee agrees to present to the conference delegates its findings on Ghana's technology infrastructure and the country's emerging market for IT investments. JUNE 2004 Richard Korley of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who recently completed a consulting project for Credit Suisse, a New York investment bank, is named the GCG Chief Technology Officer, as Sam Eshun (Accra, Ghana), the Country Director of World Links, becomes the GCG Chief Operating Officer. JULY 2004 The Ghana Multimedia Center approves GCG's application for a fiber optic-wired office space. The 7-storey GMC is a business and innovation complex launched early this year by the government to provide modern telecom facilities for firms seeking to run IT and BPO operations in Ghana. AUGUST 2004 Kofi Tawiah, the CEO of E3 Systems, meet Yaw Owusu (GCG Founder) for a weekend summit in Moraga, California to discuss future collaboration on the Ghana Tech Park venture and the Apex Industrial Park Complex, an E3 Systems project slated for a 140-acre site, six miles outside the Takoradi Harbor. They're joined via teleconference by Dr. George Ayittey of American University, an advisor to Tim Shi, a Chinese investor who's also working on a grand industrial park project at Takoradi. SEPTEMBER 2004 A comprehensive overhaul of the GCG Internet portal begins. By April 2005, the GCG site would have detailed content for future investors, including: (1) A Profile of firms in Ghana. Entrepreneurs and researchers may browse through a brief profile of Ghanaian IT firms, over 50 U.S. businesses, and more than 30 British and foreign companies operating in Ghana.
(2) Setting up a company. GCG to provide a step-by-step guide on establishing a company in Ghana, as the country's stability and enabling business environment attract more foreign investors and venture capitalists. OCTOBER 2004 Project Meeting with Microsoft Corporation is scheduled for January 2005. Expected participants:
Ohene Kwapong, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington Walter Shearer, Deputy Chief, Energy & Transport Branch, UNDESA, New York Richard Bendis, President & CEO, Innovation Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Yaw Owusu, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Cyber Group, Inc., Washington NOVEMBER 2004 GCG presents the Ghana Tech Park proposal at the Emerging Markets panel during the 31st Annual Whitney Young Conference, hosted in Philadelphia by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business on November 11-14, 2004. http://wmy.wharton.upenn.edu/panelists09.html The 2004 panels include finance, emerging markets, entrepreneurship, and consulting. The emerging market panel generates insights into factors that drive corporate or investment performance within emerging markets. DECEMBER 2004 GCG files papers to enter the World Bank Ghana Development Marketplace Competition. Ghana is one of 10 Development Marketplaces to be held in 2005. The World Bank initiative has awarded more than $25 million to 500 innovative projects in the last 6 years. Project ideas submitted will be screened and reduced to 50 finalists. The finalists will be given capacity building assistance to fine tune their project proposals and develop business plans for competitive exhibition at the main event, where a jury will select 20 winning projects for awards. The main event is scheduled for May 26-27, 2005 in Accra.