Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
ARTISANS at the Suame industrial estate have now decided to speed up development of the area with the formation of the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO).
This is as a result of years of unfulfilled promises from successive governments to develop the area.
Development partners, including the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Department for International Development (DFID), USAID, and the BUSAC Fund, are supporting SMIDO to undertake the project.
The initiative takes off with the launch of the SMIDO industrial development policy document on Wednesday, November 28, with the objective of serving as the springboard to building the required development institutional capacity that could respond effectively to the development needs of artisans within the industrial hub and other parts of the country.
It will also outline the immediate and long-term needs of the artisans, not only at Suame Magazine but also across the African continent.
About 80 years in existence, the Suame Industrial Estate, located within the Manhyia sub-metropolis of the Kumasi metropolis, is regarded as the single biggest employer in the private sector in the Ashanti Region and the largest concentration of small-scale industrial establishments in the country.
Its contribution to the economy of Kumasi and Ghana in general is tremendous, yet very little had been done by successive governments to develop the industrial estate.
With the timber industry having taken a nosedive in Kumasi, the Suame Magazine remains the main economically productive industrial estate in Kumasi.
With an estimated artisan population of over 200,000, the Suame Magazine has hundreds of repair workshops, small-scale industrial establishments scrap yards and spare parts shops.
A paper prepared by the SMIDO Office spelling out the importance of the initiative to the Suame Magazine and the development of the economy of Kumasi said they had an agenda to harness the potential of the Suame Magazine to be able to absorb about 10 per cent of Junior High School leavers and other school dropouts annually.
The paper cited lack of credit support for the small-scale engineering firms, the absence of social security measures for the working population, lack of orientation on modern technological best practices, leaving the estate in a primitive way of technology and management, the lack of policy support in the promotion of the technological products of the estate, among other challenges, responsible for the under-development of the industrial state.
It is as a result of these challenges that SMIDO was formed to chart a new course for the industrial estate.
According to SMIDO, development, poverty reduction and promoting youth employable skills are key to improving the economy of the nation and would thus pursue policies and programmes that will achieve desired objectives.