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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Industrial village project for Suame artisans takes shape



 The roadmap to establish a technologically-advanced industrial estate for artisans at Suame Magazine in Kumasi has received the support of the Manhyia Palace.

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei II has rooted for shared equity in project implementation on the proposed one thousand acre plot of land at Atwima Nwabiagya, 7 kilometers outside Kumasi.

Suame Magazine is a typical indigenous industrial cluster that has emerged to be the largest SME cluster and employment village in Ghana.

The cluster is estimated to have a working population of over 200,000 artisans and 12,000 enterprises – made up of auto repair shops, spare part shops, scrap dealers, metal fabricators, manufacturers of car components and engineering products, and host of related businesses within the metal industry.

Customers come from across West Africa to patronize their services and products. Like all indigenous cluster villages, Suame Magazine is unplanned, heavily congested and saddled with numerous environmental problems including waste management issues, air and noise pollution and bad water management practices.

Invariably, the population of Suame Magazine is faced with environmental hazards resulting from implications of their daily activities causing significant health and safety problems to the entire populace.

Besides, the possibility of expanding business within the present location does not exist.

The DANISH Development Agency (DANIDA) has adopted the industrial village project under the Support to Private Sector Development - Phase II (SPSD II), following an advocacy embarked upon by the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization (SMIDO).

The SPSD II is considering the possibility of applying part of the unallocated fund of DKK 60 million to design a programme aiming at transforming the Suame Magazine into a technological advanced industrial estate.

The multi-million dollar project will serve as a flagship model for Cluster Industrial Development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The project is scheduled to commence in June 2012 but on condition that Asanteman releases the proposed 1000 acre land.

SMIDO presented the project inception paper to the Otumfuo at the Manhyia Palace, with the expressed hope of an intervention to obtain a lease on the land from the traditional authority for project takeoff.

“The Otumfuo says yes, he is going to use his land as equity. So hopefully the stakeholders within his camp will do the necessary particulars for us to get the lease and then start the business”, stated SMIDO President, George Asamoah Amankwah.

In February this year, the project was presented to Vice-President John Mahama who assured of government’s support to get the project off the ground.

Project Consultant, Nyaaba Aweeba-Azongo says the 6 years of advocacy to resettle the artisans could soon pay off.

According to him, “DANIDA is going to support the feasibility studies and come out with the industrial model for implementation and will also garner support from other donor partners as a multi-donor arrangement to support the implementation of the industrial village project”.

The initial project Action Plan presented by SMIDO in October 2011, titled “the Blueprint for industrialization of Suame Magazine”, provides a three year roadmap from land acquisition, adoption of funding modalities, design and implementation of the whole programme.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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