Wednesday, February 6, 2013

SMIDO–Dutch partnership in vehicle manufacture in Ghana

A team of technical experts from the Netherlands is in Ghana to support artisans at the Suame light industrial area in Kumasi to improve their ability in the manufacture of vehicles.

The team from the Dutch-based AARDSCHAP Foundation is led by Melle Smets and Joost van Onna.

The partnership initiative with the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization (SMIDO) is to build a model vehicle as an international exhibit to showcase the ingenuity of Suame Magazine to the international community.

The initiative also seeks to forge partnership between the Rietveld Academy of Amsterdam, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and SMIDO for exchange programmes.

The partner universities would harmonise engineering designs for the prototype vehicle.

Speaking at the project launch, Joost van Onna said the Dutch Embassy, Dutch media and other social, educational and cultural organizations in the Netherlands have taken keen interest in the success of the project.

He expects an equal commitment in Ghana to build on the current arrangement to make Suame Magazine a global centre of technology in Africa.

“The model vehicle of which the completion is expected at the end of March or beginning of April will be exhibited in both Ghana and the Netherlands through exhibition-drives and courtesy calls on prominent personalities to drum support for the wonderful technological asset of Suame Magazine”, said Van Onna.

Presently on showcase at the I.T.T.U, in the heart of Suame Magazine, is a car popularly called the “petuo” or owl.

“This car is at least 50 years old and built in Kumasi. This is the legacy behind the inspiration to build this vehicular model as a process which started in the 1960s. We can learn and extract idea’s from this car to design a prototype for the African market”, said Melle Smets.

SMIDO Consultant, Nyaaba Aweeba-Azongo, noted the success of building the prototype vehicle will lead to the establishment of synergies in conventional and artisanal engineering technologies as a new path for the industrial development of Suame Magazine.

Meanwhile, the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Fund (SMID-Fund) has been launched to source funding for the SMIDO policy blueprint in transforming the Suame light industrial area into a modern automobile enclave.

SMIDO is seeking corporate partnership arrangements to secure a 1000 acre land at Kodie near Kumasi to implement its flagship industrial project dubbed “the SMIDO-Otumfuo Industrial Complex project for Suame Magazine”.

According to the Project Consultant, Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, “the principal objective of the SMID Fund is to facilitate the re-location of Suame Magazine into a self-inspired well-built modern industrial estate to accommodate the artisans of Suame Magazine”.

He added the project will provide trade, investment, pension and insurance needs, financial and business advisory services to the members of Suame Magazine “to promote enterprise development, trade and investment initiative to stimulate the commercial operation of enterprises under Suame Magazine”.

The SMID Fund is intended to be an endowment fund in which the principal money will be held in perpetuity and invested; only the return on investment would be used in line with an agreed formula for disbursement by a Board of Trustees. 
 
Mr. Azongo said a Corporate Syndicate Manager would be engaged to coordinate corporate arrangements under the SMID Fund to build a comprehensive fiscal regime for Suame Magazine in the first- phase of five-years.  

According to him, the Syndicate Manager shall be required to offer GHc500,000 as a formal partnership commitment to begin the process of   acquiring the 1000acre land.

The President of SMIDO, George Asamoah Amankwa, entreated corporate players particularly those in the financial sector to support the Fund.

He also called on government and leaders of the various associations of Suame Magazine to ensure that the desired cooperation is attained for the successful execution of the SMID Fund which is intended to transform Suame Magazine to drive Ghana’s quest for industrialization.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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