Professor Douglas Boateng – a supply chain, logistics and industrialisation expert, has predicted that the local economy could earn as much as GH¢300million from the fast-growing local face mask sector following the outbreak of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana.
Previously, most face masks were sourced from other countries, particularly China; however, with factories closed in China and other manufacturing hubs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana and other emerging economies have turned to local manufacturers for the production of these products.
“This local high demand during these unprecedented times is largely a result of the growing need for personal protective equipment (PPE) spurred by the global Coronavirus pandemic, as well as the latest mandate by government regarding the use of face protection masks at all times in, especially, public places,” Professor Boateng said.
“In Ghana, the rapidly evolving sector could contribute approximately GH¢300million annually to the national economy,” he noted.
According to Prof. Boateng, widening demand for quality reusable cloth-based face protection masks (FPM) over the next decade will open up opportunities for the local development and supply of these essential PPE.
“Every crisis presents opportunities for visionary business and political leaders. SAR-COV-2 cases in Ghana and across the globe have prompted the need for an increased supply of face coverings as a means of preventing spread and reducing the number of infections. This growing need to contain the virus, as well as rising health awareness among Ghanaians, is driving market growth in this area,” he said.
Using data modelled on the population density of Ghana, Professor Boateng explained: “The latest statistics from among others the world population review put Ghana’s population at 31.7 million people. At least 65% of the population require face coverings.
“This means that at least 20 million Ghanaians are in need of face masks. Each of these 20 million people will need at least three masks, equating to approximately, 60 million masks. With an average two-layered cloth-based face mask costing GH¢5, the market value for these PPE could reach GH¢312million annually,” he added.
A new report by Grand View Research indicated that a global compound annual growth rate of 53% is expected over the forecast period. This prediction could have a significant impact on the opportunities that are available to the Ghanaian textile industry, as well as smaller and medium-sized enterprises operating in this sector, he said.
With the local face mask industry expected to more than double over the next 10 years, Prof. Boateng is urging Ghanaian businesses to embrace the opportunities that have emerged and lead the way for face masks production and supply in the region.
According to Professor Boateng, enhanced face mask production and supply could not only have a direct impact on the likes of Akosombo Textiles and GTP, but also have significant spin-offs in other areas.
“Tens of thousands of jobs could be created through initiatives focused on face masks and other PPE production. Women and the youth could particularly benefit from access to jobs in the emerging sector, and further opportunities for self-employment could also arise,” he said.
While opportunities in the sector look promising, Professor Boateng warned that the medium to long-term economic sustainability of the face mask industry is dependent on government support and policy development.
“There must be a strategy and implementation plan for the entire supply chain. Government must initially protect the sector to ensure there is no dumping and price undercutting by foreign and non-continental based suppliers. Through innovative subsidies, there could even be guaranteed off-takes for schools and universities, among others,” he concluded.