The opening of the Suame Auto Diagnostics Training Center in Kumasi by German Cooperation and Partners.
The German Cooperation has celebrated two achievements as a result of their collaboration with the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO) in Kumasi.
They are the commissioning of an auto diagnostics training centre and the inauguration of the first-ever female-led scrap dealer’s association in Ghana. This marked two important milestones in the development of the Suame Magazine Industrial area at Kumasi in the Ashanti region.
The area is the biggest turning point for repairs, spare parts, and e-waste in Ghana and one of the biggest in West Africa. The market provides much of the country’s economy with secondary resources like iron, aluminum and copper.
With around 12,000 stalls and 35 associations settled in Suame Magazine, it provides around 200,000 jobs for both men and women. This makes it an appealing destination for income opportunities and trainings for mechanics, technicians, welders and other handcraft workers.
To support the overseeing organisation, SMIDO, in enhancing the capacities of artisans within the enclave, the German Development Cooperation, through its Invest for Jobs programme in collaboration with the Technology Consulting Centre (TCC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), provides, among other training measures, auto diagnostics training to strengthen the technological capacities of artisans.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, the Country Director of GIZ Ghana, highlighted that the nature of modern automobiles requires a high level of competence in the use of digital tools to be able to identify and address faults in vehicles.
“With the commissioning of the auto diagnostics training centre, over 200 auto technicians within the enclave will be equipped with technological skills and move away from the traditional way of repairing vehicles, which is associated with many challenges, to the use of digital tools, which is more efficient and productive. The aim is to promote a tech-led auto industry in Suame Magazine,” said Regina Bauerochse Barbosa.
Apart from being the focal point for ferrous and non-ferrous secondary resources, Suame Magazine also harbors the largest group of female scrap collectors and traders in Ghana. Although these women have been playing an essential role in the sector for years, lack of organizational development and administrative setup have incapacitated their proper involvement in the business.
In line with the objectives to improve e-waste management in the country and promote the formalization of informal sector scrap workers, the German Development Cooperation’s E-Waste Programme, in partnership with the Ghana Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), supported the inauguration of the Ladies in E-Waste and Scraps Association (LEWSA). This will give the 200 newly registered members of LEWSA leverage to participate in national dialogues and negotiations.
“When we heard that there were organisations like GIZ that could help us to become a formal association, we were skeptical at first, because normally the women don’t have a voice in this business,” said Chairwoman Babalimbi Turzuah.
“We got invited to the Manhyia Palace to plead our case and we thought they would laugh at us there, but they gave us their full support. And now that SMIDO has accepted us under their umbrella, it will help us negotiate fair prices for our materials”, she added.
The inaugurations took place at the SMIDO office, located in the midst of Suame Magazine on premises owned by the Technology Consultancy Center (TCC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). It was attended by around 100 people, including key actors from KNUST, the German Embassy, and the private secretary of the Asantehene, who is also the patron of SMIDO, Lawrence Akwasi Prempeh.