Turning recycled plastic into fashion; the story behind Ramafrique & Ramaplast 


While the country battles plastic waste pollution, some young enthusiasts and entrepreneurs have added their efforts to reduce the burden by making beautiful and fashionable accessories from recycled plastic.

Notable among these young entrepreneurs who are seeing the brighter side of the challenge is Awurama Kena-Asiedu, founder of the Ramafrique and Ramaplast – a wholesale and retail hub for unique African-themed accessories and products with recycled plastics. Read on as she shares her interesting story with this week’s Inspiring Start-ups.

Awurama studied business at Wesley Girls High School and completed the University of Ghana, Legon, with a combined major in Economics and Statistics. With the choice of courses, you may be wondering how the poised entrepreneur ended up in the fashion space making waves with her skills.


While pursuing her tertiary education, Awurama was fond of restyling her accessories such as bags and shoes with African prints to make them look prettier and new – but little did she know that would be the start of her entrepreneurship journey.

She said friends on campus, after seeing outcomes of the accessories’ upgrade, brought their old bags and shoes for upcycling – constantly asking for a new set of Ankara shoes and a matching bag.

“This is when we went to the retailing of African print accessories under the name Ramafrique around 2013,” she added.

Ramafrique specialises in the production and sale of handmade products such as books, school-bags, purses, laptop bags and backpacks, with each product telling an African story and emphasizsing African virtues through the prints that are used.

To master her up-cycling skills, Awurama after school took a one-year fashion course focusing keenly on bag production with a local brand in Accra; and also Environmental Ethics and Management course at the Technical Institute of Denmark, online.

“Each day I wake up with a renewed mindset to do better than the previous day. With this, I read everything and anything about business growth and management. I also took time to develop a business model that will help me understand my target market better, and became more open to suggestions and criticism,” she said, indicating how poised she is about her work.


According to Awurama, after a search in the job market for lucrative ventures and finding none, she ventured full-time into the entrepreneurship space – and while at it saw the need “to help make the world a better place” by turning the challenge of plastic waste into beautiful accessories and giving them to children of school-going age, especially in deprived communities.

“Ramaplast came along the way. I believe a brand that cares is a brand that gives back to society. Considering the harm water-sachets keep posing in the environment, I figured one of the most impactful ways to help the environment was by infusing this waste into my bag production process,” she intimated.

So, Ramaplast does the collection, washing and sewing of water sachets into durable waterproof bags for vulnerable children while empowering women through employment opportunities and skills training.

“We also source scrap leather, and use up-cycled leather or durable faux leather that causes no harm to animals or the environment. Both the leather and plastic waste would have ended up in landfills, burnt, or disposed of indiscriminately, thereby choking waterways and leading to flooding.

“So, over the years, we are proud to say we are able to manufacture our products, customise products for clients and also have a couple of retailers. All our products are 100 percent made in Ghana, and 5 percent of our profit goes into donations of free bags made from plastic to vulnerable children,” she added.


Awurama’s objective is in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 13, which focus on clean water and sanitation for all and positive climate action respectively. Also, Goal 8 focuses on promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. Again, Goal 12 – which focuses on responsible consumption and production; as well as Goals 14 and 15 which target protecting life below water and on land.

How education and experience has helped

When asked how previous working experience and education has helped, Awurama said: “I did my national service at the Ghana Standards Authority, where I understood better the essence of hierarchy and systems. This is something I hope to fully incorporate into my business”.

On a lighter note, she adds: “Often, my course-mates crack me up when they ask why I came to suffer in university if I knew I wouldn’t even be using the certificate”.


Ramafrique hopes to be the leading hub in customising bags and other fashion accessories. “For product customisation, all you need to do is think of the idea or have a sample picture and Ramafrique brings it into reality. We are doing this already, but we hope to do more. We also look forward to being a centre that empowers people through bag-making skills development,” she said.


She said finding the right people to work with is often a problem, and also scaling up as a start-up requires funding which is usually difficult to get.

How government can support start-ups

Awurama believes mentorship for start-ups is key to their growth, and that government must channel efforts into programmes which provide mentorship for startups.

“I think more pitches toward fund generation and mentorship should be organised by the various sectors to identify talents in each field and help them grow,” she said.

Economic empowerment for women 

Being a female in the entrepreneurship space, Awurama says it is inspiring to see women strive in the space and empower themselves economically.

“It’s beautiful to see a shift from the norm, and having a lot of women running businesses is inspiring. This is a future I looked forward to as a child.”

Advice to potential entrepreneurs

“Do not compare your journey to anyone’s journey, believe in God and yourself and, ultimately, remember giving back to society comes back in one thousand-fold. Also, learn on every step of the way,” she advised.

Contact details

Twitter and Facebook: @ramafriquegh or @ramaplastgh

Contact: +233(0) 553454011

Email: [email protected]

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