African Engineers: Grassroots Company Advancement in Ghana


A substantial initiative by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, was taken in January 1972 with the institution of the Engineering Consultancy Centre (TCC). Kumasi is the residence of Ghana’s major informal industrial space or kokompe, positioned to the north west of the metropolis and recognized regionally as Suame Magazine. The then Key Minister, Dr Kofi Busia, experienced commissioned the university to undertake a survey of Suame Journal and its hundreds of grassroots vehicle mend and rebuilding workshops. So the freshly fledged TCC made a decision to get as a key goal an interaction with the five thousand artisans of the Journal top to support in diversifying activities by upgrading output technologies and introducing new goods and solutions.

Above the next 25 decades, urban drift swelled the inhabitants of the Magazine to extra than 70,000 artisans. It was mainly to the credit score of the college that the selection of modern manufacturing amenities, degree of complex abilities and range of goods retained pace with, and in some conditions exceeded, the progress in human population.

This evolution was a extended and sluggish procedure, fraught with lots of delays and frustrations. Still the group of engineers and specialists, mostly assembled in the 1970s, pursued their goals with enthusiasm and dedication and all the crucial figures stayed at post through this lengthy period of time. Industrial development programmes in Africa and other areas of the developing planet are frequently abandoned after 2 to 5 several years. The story of KNUST and Suame Journal may persuade governments and advancement companies to acquire a longer-term look at.

Universities are concerned in teaching and the to start with go by the TCC in 1971 was to established up a teaching workshop on the university campus and invite the Suame artisans to go to for coaching. A several master craftsmen sent their apprentices to take advantage of the option but on the whole the response was disappointing. It was quickly realised that two things were wanted. The initial was that the teaching need to be offered in the Journal where by it would bring in more fascination. The second was that the artisans needed affordable materials of the device applications and production amenities that they had been getting trained to run.

By March 1975 a system had been drawn up for an Intermediate Technological innovation Transfer Device (ITTU) to be set up in the coronary heart of Suame Journal and run by personnel of the TCC. A challenge proposal was submitted to the Ghana Federal government and to different intercontinental development agencies. There was then a wait around of four a long time ahead of funding grew to become readily available. The on-campus instruction continued and NGO funding permitted the importation of employed device instruments from the British isles to equip the to start with 4 unbiased workshops with qualified manufacturing teams. These enterprises produced steel bolts and nuts for making, truck and fishing boat design, and lathes and bench saws for use by area carpenters. Also created had been machines for extracting palm oil and processing cassava and corn.

In 1979, resources were built readily available by the Ghana Federal government and the Canadian Intercontinental Improvement Agency (CIDA) to create the to start with ITTU in Suame Magazine, Kumasi. At the identical time, a job to build a next ITTU at Tamale in the Northern Location was permitted with guidance from the United States Agency of Global Improvement (USAID). Tamale is practically 400 kilometres from Kumasi and the logistical complications delayed the opening of the ITTU right up until 1988. Nonetheless, development in Kumasi was significantly a lot quicker and the Suame ITTU began functions in August 1980.

At to start with the Suame ITTU ongoing the programme transferred from the college campus, instruction artisans to operate equipment resources and giving imported made use of equipment at inexpensive price ranges to all those who obtained the important competencies. It also launched the manufacture of new products together with a selection of machines designed for use in upgraded common rural industries these kinds of as soap creating, post-harvest processing and craft industries. With other sections of the TCC education rural artisans and farmers to use the new equipment, by 1985 the venture experienced founded hundreds of new rural and urban enterprises employing countless numbers of gentlemen and ladies.

The TCC was nervous to introduce new production technologies into Suame Journal. Even just before the ITTU had opened it had realized that the current indigenous foundries taken care of only non-ferrous metals: bronze for the classic gold weights made at Kurofofrom in Ashanti Location and aluminium alloys for cooking pots, initially created in the much north at Bolgatanga and later made in most city centres including Kumasi. So the determination was taken to introduce iron casting and the 1st iron foundry was shown at the Suame ITTU early in 1982.

Starting off with tiny elevate-out crucible furnaces of 60 kilograms of iron potential, the marketplace fast expanded to afterwards utilize cupola furnaces melting much more than 1 tonne of recycled scrap forged iron at every single firing. Iron casting in Suame Magazine grew to turn out to be a single of the major employers, and traders appear from all over Ghana and from neighbouring nations to purchase its merchandise. The key product sales depot at the Suame ITTU is stocked from floor to ceiling with corn mill grinding plates, by significantly the very best selling item with desire from innumerable corn milling enterprises.

The Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Engineering has now been working in close affiliation with grassroots industries for far more than 40 yrs. The loyal band of pioneering engineers is now retired but many others have occur ahead to choose their put. These people today have not taken their levels and run off to greener pastures overseas but turned their know-how and competencies to the service of their less fortuitous countrymen and gals and for the betterment of the whole community. They are deserving of recognition and honour in their country and in the course of the earth progress network.