The German Agency for International Development Cooperation (GIZ) has inaugurated an auto diagnostics training centre at Suame Magazine Industrial area to scale up income opportunities and provide for mechanics, technicians, welders and other handcraft workers.
It has also inaugurated the first ever female-led scrap dealer’s association in the country to operate in the area, an intervention which has been acclaimed as the biggest turning point for repairs, spare parts and e-waste in the country, and one of the biggest in West Africa.
The projects are in collaboration with the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO) in Kumasi.
The project marked a significant milestone at the Suame Magazine Industrial area given its strategic economic importance for repairs, spare parts and e-waste in Ghana.
It is also one of the biggest markets in West Africa as it provides much of the country’s economy with secondary resources like iron, aluminum and copper.
With around 12,000 stalls and 35 associations in the Suame Magazine enclave, it provides around 200,000 jobs for both men and women.
It is thus an attractive destination for income opportunities and trainings for mechanics, technicians, welders and other handcraft workers.
Over 200 auto technicians within the enclave would be equipped with technological skills to move away from the traditional way of repairing vehicles, which is associated with many challenges.
With the implementation, SMIDO would enhance the capacities of artisans within the enclave, while GIZ, through its Invest for Jobs programme will, among others, provide auto diagnostics training to strengthen the technological capacities of artisans.
The GIZ is engaging in the activity in collaboration with the Technology Consulting Centre (TCC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on training measures.
The Country Director of GIZ Ghana, Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, highlighted the importance of modern automobiles, saying “it requires a high level of competence in the use of digital tools to be able to identify and address faults in vehicles.
The project, she indicated, would promote a tech-led auto industry at Suame Magazine.
Apart from being the focal point for ferrous and non-ferrous secondary resources, Ms Barbosa said Suame Magazine also harboured the largest group of female scrap collectors and traders in the country but lack of organisational development and administrative setup had incapacitated their proper involvement in the business, hence the projects.
She added that in line with objectives to improve e-waste management in the country and promoting the formalisation of informal sector scrap workers, the German Development Cooperation’s E-Waste Programme, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), had supported the inauguration of the Ladies in E-Waste and Scraps Association (LEWSA) to give the 200 newly registered members of LEWSA leverage to participate in national dialogues and negotiations.
The Chairperson of LEWSA, Babalimbi Turzuah, said she was initially skeptical that GIZ could help them to become a formal organisation, given the background of most of its members.
However it has become a reality and members are grateful for this intervention as it would empower them to bargain for fair prices.
“Initially, we were not sure this would materialise because normally women do not have a voice in this business.
“When we got invited to the Manhyia Palace to plead our case, we would be laughed at but they gave us their full support.
“Now that SMIDO has accepted us under its umbrella, it will help us negotiate fair prices for our materials,” the LEWSA chairperson said.