GEPA moves to increase NTEs with new bauxite bead factory

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As part of efforts to promote the industrialization agenda of government and to hasten the revival of the pandemic-hit economy by increasing non-traditional exports, the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority has inaugurated a new bauxite bead making facility at Abompe in the Eastern Region.

The new GH¢500,000 facility, comes in two phases, with the first phase comprising production floor space, warehouse and washroom facilities, and equipped with seven machines to enhance the production process and increase output. The second phase, currently under construction, will be an exhibition area where the traders will display their products for sale to tourists and other buyers.

CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, said the project was borne out of observation by the erstwhile management of the organisation which revealed that bauxite bead makers in and around Abompe, produced their wares using rudimentary manual tools and worked from their homes and other dilapidated shelters at the mercy of extreme weather conditions, thereby, affecting productivity and quality of work.

She further stated that the opening of the factory adds to GEPA’s efforts in ensuring that Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) play a key role in bringing the economy back to life and giving Ghana an advantage as the continent prepares to take-off with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

“This is an extension of GEPA’s goal to boost Ghana’s NTEs by increasing the production and supply base of a diversified product, i.e. value-added bauxite beads for the export market.

Today, we speak of the opportunities the African Continental Free Trade Area offers us. Authentic and priceless pieces such as Abompe bauxite beads, add to the many unique products Ghana can leverage on, to make in-roads into other African markets.

If there is one thing Covid has taught us, it is to reconsider focusing our energies at increasing trading within our own continent for our own good. This point cannot be over emphasized,” she said.

Dr. Asare also emphasised that despite the coronavirus pandemic which has slowed things down, GEPA still has its goal of reaping US$10 billion from NTEs for the country.

Commenting on the factory, Chief of Abompe, Nana Barima Kwadwo Addo, expressed his gratitude to GEPA for thinking about the rural folks and bringing such a project that will make beadmaking attractive to the youth of the area.

He further stated that the project will go a long way to transform the community as it will bring jobs and promote the economic well-being of its members.

 One of the bead makers, Abena Adutwumwaa, shared her experience with the B&FT, saying the project has come to solve their biggest challenge in bead making, as the bead makers have had to endure the use of traditional old-fashioned method in production which was, in some cases, even risky as the tools had the potential of hurting them.

She added that the manual method made the work very laborious and time consuming, making it impossible for the women in the trade to be efficient in production. Hence, the factory has come in handy for them.

The machines in the factory were manufactured and installed by McHammah Engineering Co. Ltd., a Ghanaian-owned equipment manufacturing company.

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