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African Engineers: Grassroots Enterprise Development in Ghana

A substantial initiative by the Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Technological innovation (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, was taken in January 1972 with the institution of the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC). Kumasi is the home of Ghana’s largest informal industrial spot or kokompe, positioned to the north west of the metropolis and regarded locally as Suame Journal. The then Primary Minister, Dr Kofi Busia, had commissioned the university to undertake a survey of Suame Journal and its hundreds of grassroots car or truck restore and rebuilding workshops. So the newly fledged TCC made a decision to just take as a major goal an interaction with the 5 thousand artisans of the Magazine leading to guidance in diversifying activities by upgrading output technologies and introducing new merchandise and services.

Around the following 25 many years, city drift swelled the inhabitants of the Magazine to more than 70,000 artisans. It was mostly to the credit rating of the college that the range of modern-day manufacturing services, amount of technological capabilities and assortment of solutions held tempo with, and in some circumstances exceeded, the advancement in human population.

This evolution was a lengthy and slow method, fraught with a lot of delays and frustrations. Still the group of engineers and specialists, largely assembled in the 1970s, pursued their targets with enthusiasm and determination and all the vital figures stayed at post all through this very long interval. Industrial progress programmes in Africa and other pieces of the establishing world are usually abandoned following 2 to 5 a long time. The tale of KNUST and Suame Journal could motivate governments and enhancement businesses to consider a more time-term see.

Universities are involved in teaching and the very first go by the TCC in 1971 was to established up a teaching workshop on the college campus and invite the Suame artisans to attend for coaching. A couple of learn craftsmen sent their apprentices to acquire edge of the opportunity but on the complete the reaction was disappointing. It was quickly realised that two items were being desired. The initially was that the instruction should be offered in the Journal wherever it would bring in far more curiosity. The second was that the artisans needed very affordable materials of the machine tools and production facilities that they have been being educated to function.

By March 1975 a plan had been drawn up for an Intermediate Technological know-how Transfer Unit (ITTU) to be recognized in the heart of Suame Magazine and run by staff members of the TCC. A job proposal was submitted to the Ghana Authorities and to numerous intercontinental growth agencies. There was then a hold out of four yrs ahead of funding became offered. The on-campus schooling continued and NGO funding authorized the importation of employed machine resources from the United kingdom to equip the initial four impartial workshops with properly trained generation groups. These enterprises created metal bolts and nuts for creating, truck and fishing boat construction, and lathes and bench saws for use by community carpenters. Also manufactured have been machines for extracting palm oil and processing cassava and corn.

In 1979, funds had been created out there by the Ghana Govt and the Canadian Intercontinental Improvement Company (CIDA) to establish the initial ITTU in Suame Journal, Kumasi. At the very same time, a project to build a 2nd ITTU at Tamale in the Northern Area was accredited with assist from the United States Agency of International Development (USAID). Tamale is approximately 400 kilometres from Kumasi and the logistical issues delayed the opening of the ITTU right until 1988. Nonetheless, progress in Kumasi was a lot quicker and the Suame ITTU began operations in August 1980.

At 1st the Suame ITTU ongoing the programme transferred from the university campus, schooling artisans to operate machine resources and supplying imported utilized machines at affordable costs to those people who obtained the vital competencies. It also released the manufacture of new solutions such as a selection of equipment developed for use in upgraded common rural industries such as soap making, post-harvest processing and craft industries. With other sections of the TCC teaching rural artisans and farmers to use the new products, by 1985 the challenge experienced set up hundreds of new rural and urban enterprises using countless numbers of gentlemen and girls.

The TCC was anxious to introduce new production technologies into Suame Magazine. Even before the ITTU had opened it had acquired that the existing indigenous foundries dealt with only non-ferrous metals: bronze for the classic gold weights designed at Kurofofrom in Ashanti Region and aluminium alloys for cooking pots, to start with created in the much north at Bolgatanga and later manufactured in most city centres which includes Kumasi. So the decision was taken to introduce iron casting and the initially iron foundry was demonstrated at the Suame ITTU early in 1982.

Beginning with little carry-out crucible furnaces of 60 kilograms of iron ability, the market speedily expanded to later on employ cupola furnaces melting far more than a person tonne of recycled scrap forged iron at just about every firing. Iron casting in Suame Journal grew to become a person of the premier companies, and traders occur from all in excess of Ghana and from neighbouring nations around the world to get its merchandise. The key revenue depot at the Suame ITTU is stocked from ground to ceiling with corn mill grinding plates, by considerably the very best selling products with demand from numerous corn milling enterprises.

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technological innovation has now been doing work in close affiliation with grassroots industries for extra than 40 yrs. The loyal band of groundbreaking engineers is now retired but many others have occur ahead to consider their put. These individuals have not taken their degrees and run off to greener pastures abroad but turned their information and abilities to the service of their much less lucky countrymen and girls and for the betterment of the whole local community. They are deserving of recognition and honour in their country and all over the globe progress network.