GhanaWeb is Ghana’s first vertical portal, content curation and syndication website relaunched in 1999 to offer news, background information, classifieds, radio stations and a social network for Ghanaians and the Diaspora.
The privately-owned independent and objective portal operates under the laws of the Netherlands, a legal setup that has allowed Ghanaians to express themselves freely for over two decades through opinion articles and comments.
Made for and by Ghanaians, GhanaWeb is updated by a team of editors and journalists who ensure balanced coverage of the news by creating original content, publishing syndicated and user-generated content and curating articles from a wide range of Ghanaian print and online media partners.
GhanaWeb has evolved over the years to include video content and social media components to its news feed as well as a mobile app for smooth web navigation. Its team of web developers and web designers regularly improve the technology and design of the portal which has been built to meet the requirements of its 4 million unique visitors each month.
According to the Alexa website traffic statistics, GhanaWeb is very popular among Ghanaian migrants in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Netherlands, France and many other countries.
These loyal visitors and the millions of readers in Ghana have made GhanaWeb the most popular news website in Ghana and ranked the third most visited website in the country after Google and YouTube.
GhanaWeb is part of the AfricaWeb Holding group, an advertising and digital solutions provider for African publishers. AfricaWeb also owns CamerounWeb.com, TanzaniaWeb.com, MyNigeria.com among other country-specific portals as part of its goal of developing viable independent news portals as well as advertising and publishing solutions for Africa.
History of GhanaWeb
Ghanaweb.com is rich in history that spans over two decades since its conception in 1994 as a print magazine serving the growing Ghanaian community in Amsterdam by collating news stories from Ghanaian newspapers.
The website was launched on January 1, 1999, as an amalgamation with GhanaHomePage - a blog on the domain of the University of Uta in Finland - which was conceived in the early nineties by a Ghanaian lecturer working in Finland.
GhanaWeb.com/GhanaHomePage featured links to the latest news, sports, announcements, chat rooms, Ghanaian dictionary and many other resources. News stories from Ghana were published from different sources and mailing lists from magazines.
On October 13, 1999, the website experienced a major update with a colourful interface designed by a Russian graphical top-designer, setting a new standard in Ghana for ease of navigation to the comprehensive resource uploaded on the portal. Since then, the colour interface has become a trademark for GhanaWeb breaking away from the global trend of publishing content on dull and uninspiring websites.
Quite uniquely for the early years of the World Wide Web, GhanaWeb used a custom-built CMS (Content Management System), initially developed by the Dutch founder - a professional software engineer - which was specifically engineered for the African infrastructure conditions. Through the custom CMS, GhanaWeb has been loading very fast and reliable even on slow and unreliable African internet connections.
In 2001, GhanaWeb was the first African website offering a mobile website which was initially supporting feature phones such as the iconic Nokia 3110. Through this Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) site, GhanaWeb went mobile 6 years before the first iPhone hit the market.
The portal grew steadily with many people helping to update the website with daily news and information from Ghana. Notable journalists, bloggers and many columnists have gained popularity through their work and opinions on GhanaWeb.
By 2009, advertising revenues had improved drastically compared to the seven past years and more people were engaged remotely to update the website with news and information as it continued to lead the online news space in Ghana since its inception.
From 2011, GhanaWeb launched partnerships with local companies to run the editorial section of the business from Ghana while maintaining the legal entity as well as technical operations in Amsterdam to protect the rights of Ghanaians to express their opinions freely without government interference.
The GhanaWeb Newsroom has since grown into a strong backbone of the business despite its fair share of lawsuits in Europe based on stories published on the website. The setbacks haven’t changed GhanaWeb’s stance of maintaining independence and offering Ghanaians an objective and balanced news media platform that’s devoid of censorship.
2014 was the right time for the business to expand and it did with CameroonWeb.com. The portal was built on the same tenets of GhanaWeb with an element of bilingualism. CameroonWeb was published in both French and English when it was launched and journalists recruited in Cameroon managed the portal.
After two years, the market clearly swayed towards the French section of the website hence the need to collapse the English section to create the solely French CamerounWeb portal.
The portal has grown to become the most popular Cameroonian website ranked seventh after top sites like Google, YouTube etc. despite the Cameroonian government’s censorship and heavy attacks on the media. Its newsroom has been moved from the country to protect the journalists.
TanzaniaWeb was also born in 2017 publishing in Swahili. The country also faces censorship and the newsroom has equally been moved to a neighbouring country.
The expansion success of GhanaWeb necessitated the founding of AfricaWeb Holding which was incorporated in 2019 as AfricaWeb Publishing B.V. in the Netherlands.
It was created to help develop viable independent news portals, web and publishing solutions in Africa. Under its wings is MyNigeria.com which was launched in October 2019 to serve the Nigerian population.
AfricaWeb Holding is building successful partnerships to help make the dream of creating a robust online media in Africa a possibility.
GhanaWeb has currently evolved from being a news aggregator website to becoming a producer of original content including video content and social media components. It also has a mobile app for easy access to its free content.
In 2020, it won the first Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge for its novel GhanaWeb Reporter project which will inject new ideas into the global news ecosystem.
The GhanaWeb Reporter is among 21 projects from 13 countries in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region to receive $1.93 million in funding to help journalism thrive in the digital age.
In the next five years, the media portals under the AfricaWeb Holding umbrella are expected to employ over 300 workers and reach 20 million unique visitors in a month. Indeed, the dream started with placing Ghana on the web, now it is Africa’s turn.