Accra provides lessons on how to run an AI start-up

MinoHealth AI Labs — based in my home city of Accra, Ghana’s capital — specialises in providing artificial intelligence for healthcare applications, such as medical image interpretation.

I started the company in 2016 while living in Europe and returned to Ghana the next year, aiming to deploy deep learning (DL) to aid hospital diagnoses for diseases from diabetes to breast cancer.

Today Accra has grown into an important AI hub for Africa — and demonstrated how a city can foster a community of young tech-savvy entrepreneurs. But, when I founded minoHealth AI Labs a few years ago, the technology — especially DL — was a novel domain.

Very few AI labs exist in the world. Accra people are some of the most hospitable in the world, a quality characterised by the warm greeting “Akwaaba!” (“Welcome!”) that Ghanaians generally give.

However, their initial distrust of artificial intelligence made me realise I needed to become an AI evangelist.

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