Are Ghanaian businesses shy of the Internet?

internet-2This is the Information Communication Technology (ICT) age. But it appears most Ghanaian businesses are ICT shy.

The ICT age has come with it a boom in Internet technology which has revolutionized how business is done and brought dynamism, but Ghana, despite having a very attractive ICT policy is still at the crawling stage of taking advantage of this revolution to transform its society.

Sadly, the country is rather gaining notoriety as a centre for cyber crime, further weakening its chances of taking the lead in e-commerce in the West African sub-region.

For most businesses in Ghana, it is as if the Internet has just been discovered, and they are not in a hurry to get on board. They are wary, unsure of its full potential; they are waiting till no one knows when.

Even for most of the businesses like the financial institutions that claim to be online, the least said about them the better. It is more of a marketing ploy, because as it is, most customers do not get the full benefits of online services as these businesses claim to offer.

Ghanaian businesses online

Searching for Ghanaian businesses online is like searching for a needle in a hay sack. One is not likely to find most businesses online nor find information on lots of these businesses, including some so called industry leaders. They do not have web presence in the form of websites.

A website, even a static one gives a business presence on the Internet. With basic company information such as address and telephone numbers, it is easier for customers looking for such a company to locate it online, or for those looking for companies within a certain industry in the country to find such businesses.

Often, foreigners wanting to contact Ghanaian businesses have a hard time locating them, because even though the Internet has become the first point of research on any subject or business, most Ghanaian businesses are not easily found online and frustrated potential business partners and customers are left with no option but to make phone calls which are often more expensive than doing business online.

For the few that have simple websites, the information available is often outdated and sometimes irrelevant. Some companies have outgrown the information posted on their websites, some have even changed their telephone numbers, but they have not updated these online, effectively making them unreachable even if one could find them online.

From experience, most companies online hardly check their emails regularly. It is therefore possible to send an email to a business and never receive a reply.

Online Advertising

Online advertising is another effective means for businesses to be visible on the Internet. But Ghanaian businesses are still stuck to the old ways of doing things; Ghanaian businesses are doing mostly traditional advertising on TV, radio and in print; they are doing very little online advertising, despite the huge business opportunities that online advertising offers and the cost-effective nature of online advertising.

Online advertising is placing an advertisement of services and or products on another website that has a wider reach or visitor profile. An example is www.ghanabusinessnews.com, Ghana’s premier and leading business news portal or any such online news service. By placing an advert on a website like these, businesses would be reaching a global audience far beyond their expectation, and thereby creating a global presence for themselves.

Online advertising is far cheaper than other traditional advertising, and has a far wider reach than traditional advertising. It has the capability of bringing potential customers in touch with the business in real time, thereby giving real value for money.

According to available data, in 2007, US online advertisement revenue exceeded $21 billion for the first time. And in 2008 online advertising spending reached a record $23.4 billion, despite the economic crisis, emphasizing the increased recognition of the medium’s value in reaching consumers online where they are spending more and more of their time, according to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) in the US.

It is high time Ghanaian businesses shed off their fear of technology, particularly, ICT and make the best of the opportunities it offers for business dynamism and growth.

Ghanaian businesses must be bold and go online!

 

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Email: edogbevi@hotmail.com

No Comments
  1. E. Occansey says

    How true. I often send emails to Ghanaians companies, even though I know that I shouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them to reply. It’s become some sort of private joke, really. Out of maybe a dozen of e-mails to various companies and administrations, I only got _one_ follow-up so far, and not in the form of a written reply.

    I’m afraid most Ghanaians still believe that the Internet is something kids use to chat with known or unknown friends everywhere in the world or be naughty with, either through online dating or all sorts of scams.

    Then again, it doesn’t surprise me that Ghanaian companies are not on the Internet. We don’t have street names either, or street maps, or a useful and useable phone directory. It is exceedingly difficult to obtain the most basic information here, as if businesspeople hadn’t yet realised the very simple truth: the more people can find you (easily!), the more business opportunities you get.

  2. Richmond Frempong says

    i think some people see the net as a waste of time or somthing quite remote from them and not friendly to them. people who grew up before the computer became so popular are not friendly to the use of the computer. i think in these modern days that the youth come into contact at tender age with the computer is a good sign for a change in attitude for the Ghanaian.

  3. Adade John-Rye says

    Bravo!

    I wish all businesses in Ghana could have access to this article. It is very challenging and frustrating when one want to find information on a product/service or a Ghanaian company on the internet. The most annoying part is when you request for an information or need a feedback from those companies that you may have access to on the internet.They simply dont care.

    One most interesting believe in Ghana is that, access to the internet is for those in schools and the internet fraudsters ” Sakawa Boys”

    I hope that Ghanaian businesses gets there with a fast pace.

  4. Pearson says

    Well I think in my opinion,it is an issue of cost of hosting their websites that makes them shun away from utilizing/harnessing the full power of the internet.Even so there are a couple of free website hosting services available but still……………..

  5. Awuradebasa says

    We have a long way to go, Africans . We’re only good at having babies…pitty.

  6. Osei Assibey says

    I am a moneylender. My area of operations is lending to the rural folks.There are unlimited clients up there. I need people with monies to partner me to help the rural communities.Help me to use the internet to achieve this dream.

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