African Engineers: Joseph Barimah Kwako

The story of Joseph Barimah Kwako illustrates 1 of the basic ideas of technological know-how transfer to compact enterprises in acquiring nations around the world: technical information is vital but entrepreneurial zeal is essential. Even prior to the founding of the Know-how Consultancy Centre (TCC) in January 1972, a team of engineers of the Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Engineering (KNUST), Kumasi, experienced founded a undertaking to exhibit an upgraded technological innovation for producing steel bolts and nuts and were being introducing it to the artisans of Ghana’s greatest casual industrial place, Suame Journal. A generation device on the university campus operated effectively for numerous several years and several artisans had been properly trained in the new technology but it was only soon after Joseph Kwako appeared on the scene that the engineering transferred effectively to the personal sector.

In a study of Suame Journal in 1971, KNUST engineers uncovered that big quantities of metal bolts and nuts have been utilised in the design of wooden bodies for trotros (privately-owned general public transportation autos based on old Bedford truck chasses) and cocoa vans (products transport cars) and these ended up created regionally by blacksmiths and centre lathe turners. The high quality of the bolts and nuts was lousy and the charge of output was gradual. The KNUST engineers decided to introduce a new technologies based mostly on the use of capstan (turret) lathes, and with a grant from Barclays Lender International Development Fund a pilot output device was set up.

The TCC opened a commercially-running Steel Bolt Output Unit (SBPU) on the KNUST campus in January 1973. Production ongoing uninterrupted until the SBPU moved to the Intermediate Technological know-how Transfer Unit (ITTU) at Suame Journal in August 1980. By that time the SBPU had created and marketed in excess of 200,000 bolt and nut sets, provided 80 gentleman-a long time of employment and educated 50 artisans in all essential abilities: capstan lathe and milling equipment functions and die-forging. In spite of issues of uncooked substance supply and the availability of imported tooling, output was taken care of and prices were recovered. On the other hand, the gain margin was very low and no personal business could be persuaded to consider up the new engineering.

Joseph Barimah Kwako came to the TCC in the mid 1970s wanting for a product to sell. He experienced been skilled as a pharmaceutical technician, but as salaries fell reduce and reduced in getting energy he remaining his submit at Mbrom Hospital in Kumasi to seek out his fortune in self-work as a trader. Joseph was revealed all the products and solutions that experienced been launched by the TCC: cleaning soap, broadcloth, honey, paper glue, Afro-wigs, metal bolts and nuts and other engineering items, etc. He departed with a number of samples, promising to do his very best to find new marketplaces to additional stimulate community generation.

When he arrived back again a handful of weeks later on Joseph introduced an buy for a quantity of steel bolts and nuts. At initially he said only that they ended up for a purchaser in Accra. His visits turned far more regular, and the dimensions of the orders grew, right up until a stage was reached at which Joseph questioned for aid in transporting the consignments to his customer, Kofifo Boatbuilding Co. Ltd. This newly-recognized business was setting up 20 metre ocean-going fishing boats at Accra’s outdated harbour, employed only for fishing due to the fact the building of the present day port at Tema, 30 kilometres to the East. Kofifo claimed that the availability of domestically developed metal fasteners, made to their requirements at small shipping moments, was vital to the achievements of their business enterprise.

The items of the SBPU ended up offered to the picket car overall body builders of Suame Magazine, to making contractors for roof trusses and to farmers for gate and fence design, but it was the fishing boat sector that proved to be the greatest, most valuable and reliable sector. The domestically-developed fasteners could not compete with international-manufactured products and solutions on price, and when credit score amenities allowed importation the SBPU concentrated on market marketplaces with unique specifications and left the normal marketplace for normal items to the importers. In the 1970s and early 1980s, nonetheless, there were extensive durations when imported merchandise had been not out there and local companies experienced the full industry to themselves.

Joseph Kwako’s trade in metal bolts and nuts ongoing for two yrs ahead of he arrived to the TCC with a new ask for. Saying that he experienced amassed a huge money sum from buying and selling, he requested if he could be served to create his own bolt and nut generation unit. It was pointed out to him that much specialized expertise was essential and he was not trained as an engineer. He insisted that he had sufficient cash to acquire the vital employed device applications that the TCC was importing to set up 4 non-public output models. He proposed to receive the vital technical skills by apprenticing his son to the SBPU and presenting employment to some of the young men who had previously accomplished their training. Impressed by his enthusiasm, the TCC integrated Joseph Kwako in the upcoming period of the technological innovation transfer programme.

4 personal enterprises commenced metal bolt and nut manufacturing in Kumasi in 1979. 3 were owned and operate by skilled engineering technicians and just one by a pharmaceutical technician turned trader. Unnecessary to say, it was Joseph Barimah Kwako who over the succeeding decades attained the greatest business accomplishment and the speediest fee of growth of his business.