Startup Ecosystem Report: Accra

Accra’s startup ecosystem is developing rapidly. At the moment, the city ranks eighth in the Middle East and Africa Startup Friendliness Index (MEA SFI) out of 16 cities assessed in the region.

Startup Friendliness Index scores are determined by examining 80 indicators in six domains: Human Capital, access to Finance, the liveliness of the Startup Scene, Infrastructure quality, Macro framework (describing the political and legal system), and Market conditions (such as trade balance and capacity utilisation). Cities with relatively even scores across domains receive a higher overall score than a city with strong performance in one area, and weak performance in another. SFI scores range from 0 to 100, with a score of 0 for the city with the weakest performance, to 100 for the strongest.

The startup scene in Accra is still developing, and the Ghanian government has prioritised the rapid development of the ecosystem through the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP). Growing interest in startups in the city has manifested in a proliferation of institutionalised resources such as incubators and accelerators, and a surge in the number of startups overall.

The relative strength of Accra’s ecosystem is its Human Capital, due to high levels of female participation, affordable labour, and few overly-restrictive labour regulations, though there is a need to continue up-skilling people for modern professions. Accra also performs well on the Macro domain, given that Ghana is a stable state with high level of democracy, though challenges are visible in the legal framework of the country due to slow bureaucracy, and few options to resolve insolvency. Finance is one of the weakest domains for the city due to low levels of access to all financing options. Infrastructure is also a struggle, with the main challenges found in the cost and quality of utilities. Finally, Market conditions remain an area for improvement, particularly regarding low GDP per capita and slow economic growth relative to the region.

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