Sunday, July 15, 2018

Google AI in Ghana

The question everyone was asking after Jeff Dean (the Google AI and Google Brain team lead) announced that Google AI Lab was coming to Accra was "Why Ghana?"

The answer to that has been clear for a while now but has eluded most people.

When Barrack Obama decided to visit Ghana as the first African country during his Presidency, it was the same question most people asked - "Why Ghana?"

The answer is simple; Ghana is the future of Africa.

When I decided to move away from Nigeria to Ghana almost a decade ago, most people could not understand why because they had not visited Ghana, I did and I fell in love, literally.

I married a Fanti woman. I had already fallen for the country before I met my wife because the place was different.

It didn't have the hardcore market edge of places like Nigeria and South Africa, but it was a place where I could live and work.

Ghana has relatively stable electricity, relative security, and decent internet infrastructure. It also has some of the best tourist destinations in the developing world. All of this is present without any hype. I moved our business there and didn't look back ever since.

This choice is in spite of the challenges the country has gone through in recent times. I have remained and will continue to do so.

Google probably, however, has different reasons for choosing Ghana, and Jeff Dean tried to explain that it had to do with the robust network of academic institutions as well as infrastructure.

Google has been a significant investor in strengthening those institutions and the infrastructure around it.

An Alphabet Subsidiary named CSquared spun out of Google has quietly been laying an extensive fiber optic backbone in Accra and Kampala to help solve the last-mile internet problem that Eric Schmidt mentioned in Barcelona.

The internet speeds I get in the office and at home in Accra are now comparable with California speeds.

Ghana has also become a melting pot for education in the sub-region over the years because of the relative stability of the country and the high standards of its institutions, such as the highly-regarded Ashesi University.

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