Three MCR Clusters in Ghana

Clusters of workshops where MCR has an established place in the building materials market were discovered by EcoSouth expert Martin Melendez when he visited Ghana at the end of 2001. He was able to compare the situation in 2001 with an earlier mission in 1996, and come up with quite a realistic overview.


Basically there has been a shift away from the great cluster of workshops detected in Accra in 1996, to three clusters. In Kumasi there are around ten workshops, in Sekondi Takoradi around twelve workshops and in Cape Coast around eight workshops. Virtually all workshops have diversified into other concrete products. However, there are preoccupations about quality of the product, as none of the seven workshops evaluated, received enough points to qualify for the EcoSouth Certificate of Quality.
Through complementary projects supported by the ILO and DEZA between 1989-1994 a high degree of dissemination of MCR technology occurred in this west African country. After completion of the project an explosion of workshops occurred. However, the high production figures reflected as a result of this phenomena have fallen back in recent years.
Basically there has been a shift away from the great cluster of workshops detected in Accra in 1996, to three clusters. In Kumasi there are around ten workshops, in Sekondi Takoradi around twelve workshops and in Cape Coast around eight workshops. Virtually all workshops have diversified into other concrete products.

Kumasi cluster and market region
Kumasi is the second city of Ghana, and the region has many good MCR roofs, some highly visible along the main road. In Kumasi MCR tiles are known and people compare one producer with another. Information from the quality evaluations often confirms their observations.
The workshops in this cluster are located within a radius of 15km from the center of town, more or less evenly distributed on all sides. They are usually located along the roadside and have between one and three vibrating tables and between 120-400 moulds. Three to five people work in each workshop, thus creating around 40-45 jobs in the region.
The University of Science and Technology provides a good technical background for MCR and one of its civil engineering professors is a convinced supporter of the technology. During the mission visit, the team encountered a course underway when it visited the university. The focal point at the University of Science and Technology of Kumasi continues to train people interested in MCR technology for a modest fee.
There are several interesting and successful producers. Apio Investment Company, for instance, had sold more than 16,000 tiles in 2001 and their books reveal that more than 500,000 tiles have been sold during the past 10 years

Sekondi Takoradi cluster and market region
These are twin cities that run into each other and together have a population of about 100,000. Together with Tema they are the major ports of Ghana. The climate is extremely hot, with high humidity.
In 1996, while things seemed to be growing fast, there were still not too many workshops, some four or five at that time, of which three are still working.
On the 2001 mission of the twelve workshops in the region, four workshops were visited. These workshops were located in different neighborhoods of town, one in the upmarket region, one in an industrial area, one near the coast and the fourth along the road to Accra.
As to outstanding producers in this market region, Odessa Tiles Unlimited has produced more than 30,000 tiles, a workshop begun in 1993. In these eight years he has produced more or less 40,000m2 of tiles, and in 2001 alone he has produced around 10,000m2. Odessa has MCR advertisements all over town.
Roadside and workshop advertising is quite dominant in Sekondi Takoradi.

Cape Coast Cluster
This is a beach zone of many hotels two hours drive from Accra, a place of local tourism. It consists of a small town, with many neighboring villages.
There are currently about eight workshops in this cluster, of which four were visited. Standard Developers Limited was one of the eight original workshops installed by the project and is still producing. In fact, it is the only survivor of these eight. It is one of the best workshops in Ghana and has a stable workforce including accountant, manager, makers of tiles and other concrete products.
Another interesting case is Alsil Enterprise. The owner had been making tiles with his uncle at Caps Roof Ltd. who sent him to the small town called Abura to make a roof. He fell in love with a local girl and in February 2001 moved there and set up tile production, about 25 km from Cape Coast. He has already sold about 15,000 tiles.
His uncle at Caps Roof had produced tiles before the project entered in 1989 and had made his own equipment and concrete moulds of one meter length. However, Atsu from NBSSI did train the worker at Caps Roof.

The Ghana visit confirmed that decentralized production of MCR stimulates local economies, in effect, becomes poverty alleviation by business, as it combats poverty by providing jobs. Decentralized production also implies less transportation costs and less environmental damage.
In order to help improve the quality of the product, the EcoSouth Network is seeking to share information with the Ghanian producers and integrate them into its activities.

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