AFRICANGLOBE – Almost 60 years after Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, pushed local industry to the global stage, the country’s manufacturing sector is enjoying a new lease of life with the reopening of two old factories and the establishment of one new assembly plant.
The Kumasi shoe factory is now back up and running almost 10 years after it was shut down.
The factory was first established in 1960 under Nkrumah but after decades of neglect it was closed down in 2002.
Plans to reopen the factory were initially put forward in 2009 by Knight Ghana, the local subsidiary of a Czech company, working in partnership with the Ghana Armed Forces.
The factory is now supplying footwear to the country’s security services and sandals for school children.
Employing less than 200 people, once fully operation the factory is operating at full capacity it is expected to employ 800 workers.
Further south, in the Central Region, the rehabilitation of the Komenda Sugar Factory – another of Nkrumah’s achievements – is underway.
The India Exim Bank funded $35 million factory is expected to produce 1250 tonnes of cane sugar per day and has the potential to produce cane spirit with the installation of a $10mn distillery.
In the last five years Ghana – a country that naturally produces sugarcane – has spent over $500 million on sugar imports.
According to government insiders the Komenda factory would lay the groundwork for plans for a larger $350mn sugar factory soon to be built in the north of the country.
In October Comfort Aniagyei, managing director of Ghana Made, blamed Ghanaians’ high affinity for foreign products and disdain for locally made goods as a downfall for the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, Indian car company Svani Motors is setting up 9.6 acre vehicle assembly plant between Accra and Tema to begin production in 2014.
By: Billie Adwoa McTernan