Hand Out: Is Crowdfunding Working In Ghana?

A team called WhiteFox built a fully programmable, compact keyboard with an aluminum frame and custom key switches. They needed funding to scale up and produce more and sell it to users. They needed about $100,000 and placed their product on Kickstarter.

With 5 days to go before their funding window ends, the team has gotten 1598 backers for their project and have raised $313,226 for their project, far eclipsing their needed capital.

Fundraising sites like Kickstarter have been doing remarkably well at helping people crowdfund their projects. Kickstarter has helped raise funds for some notable projects including the Pebble Watch (It raised $20,338,986, which was a record sum).

In Ghana, raising funds can be a bit hard at times. The Ghana Planetarium is trying to crowdfund to help save the Planetarium. As of today, it has only raised $490 in two months, far below their goal of $4,000.

There are a number of reasons some crowdfunded projects like this don’t work in Ghana. But there have been successes in the past. A Ghanaian Olympic Swimmer, Ophelia Swayne needed $10,000 to help her team to Romania and managed to reach her goal by using the GoFundMe platform. Other Ghanaians have also decided to put their projects on that platform as well but there have been mixed results.

But are Ghanaians aware of these crowdfunding platforms or are we as a society not really as altruistic?

Visa Cards and Debit Cards? Maybe Mobile Money Is The Key…

One thing you’ll notice on some of these crowdfunding sites is how they accept payment for funding. Most of them rely on the use of credit and debit cards. In our part of the world, we’re kind of averse to that sort of payment method. Mobile Money is more popular than ever. Skeptical at first, even I have signed up as well as contributor Christoper Opare. Thanks to ExpressPay and Instant Payment, transferring mobile money payments to my Bank Account is a breeze (albeit, with some fees attached).

There are some local crowdfunding sites like Funding Africa which offer Mobile Money payment options for users looking to support local projects.

Funding Africa platform

But even with these options available, how willing are Ghanaians to give? If there was a Ghanaian equivalent like WhiteFox crowdfunding a tech product, would we reach into our wallets and support them?

Crowdfunding And Support For Local Creators

Local content creators don’t really get paid what they’re due. From music artists to bloggers, getting paid for what you do can be a tough gig. Sites like Patreon are trying to help creators get paid for their work. Users can support by pledging specific monthly payments to creatives and receive exclusive content.

Naa Oyoo’s Patreon Profile

Social media expert and blogger, Naa Oyoo Kumodzi has a Patreon site where users can sign and get exclusive content from her. (You can support Naa Oyoo by going to her Patreon site here).

But whether Naa Oyoo can reach critical mass and get support from her local readers and community is another thing to look at.

There is limited data about how much Ghanaians actually give to crowdfunding platforms but casual observation would say it’s not a lot. Social media has helped with awareness about projects that need funding but whether the actual funding takes place is another thing.

So the question stands, is crowdfunding working in Ghana? Are people willing or aware enough to support projects like a WhiteFox if it emerges in Ghana?

Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.

Email: [email protected]