I recently visited Dr. Kwabena Adjei in his hometown of Bonuama and was compelled to share his story. A tale of a village lad who climbed to prominence but never forgot his roots. When GC as we affectionately call him told me a few years ago, he was going back to his village to help lift it up, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw on my visit to Bonuama.
Dr. Kwabena Adjei was born and raised in Bonuama, a small town near Asankragua in the Amenfi Central District of the Western region, where he lived the first thirteen years of his life away from city life. The drive from Takoradi to the town takes roughly 4-5 hours, and the roads are in poor condition. He describes it as an isolated location, and I can attest that getting there is quite difficult.
The seasoned entrepreneur founded Kasapreko; an indigenous company in 1989 in a converted garage in Nungua – Accra with just 5 staff with the objective of meeting the growing demand for high-quality alcoholic beverages but today; the company has evolved and developed into a cutting-edge manufacturing company well-known in Africa and around the world. The company exports to 16 countries worldwide and has about 2000 direct and indirect employees. It continues to contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of Ghana and has been awarded on a number of occasions by the Ghana Revenue Authority as the highest indigenous tax payer.
Kasapreko Company Limited is well-known for its impact on lives and societies through its One4Life project. With this initiative, they have ensured that consumers of their Awake Purified Drinking Water have the opportunity to support patients with various heart-related conditions by contributing a portion of the proceeds to the Cardiothoracic Center.
The 69-year-old change maker, who retired at the age of 60, has spent the past 9 years of his life in Bonuama, the place that impacted his early existence. Dr. Kwabena Adjei walked away from active employment at the age of 60 after advancing the Kasapreko brand and influencing lives; a beautiful example of generational establishment and business continuity. Unfortunately, in our world, many enterprises and visions die with their founders, but this resolute move of handing over to the next generation while still alive and well is an indication of a commitment to building a legacy.
Dr. Adjei has transformed the little community of Bonuama and ensured that locals have access to basic necessities. Due to the resolve of just one man, Bonuama now boasts of being home to practically all of the significant sectors in modern society; a sign that if a nation raises and builds successful business men and women, the country eventually benefits. State entities should therefore create the enabling environment and “economic super-highway” for private business to thrive because it of its ripple effect.
With respect to education, in collaboration with Kasapreko, he has established an ultra-modern school with a 6 -unit classroom complex, computer laboratory and available internet. He personally paid all teachers for two years before handing over to the government. To motivate teachers, he donated two bungalows as accommodation facilities for teachers who accept posting to the town. He and Kasapreko Company Limited intend to establish a kindergarten to improve the foundations of the residents before they graduate to the school.
In health, Bonuama now boasts of a polyclinic established and funded by Dr. Adjei and Kasapreko. He envisioned the project as a clinic but upon completion, health inspectors upgraded it to a polytechnic status because it had all the facilities and standards required. The polyclinic has a surgical theatre, laboratory, maternity wards, pharmacy, male and female wards, an ambulance amongst others.
To ensure his town is not cut off from trends, he influenced the extension of electricity and internet services to the town. The town has power transformers from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and telecommunication masts from MTN to serve the residents and other neighbouring towns.
Kasapreko Company Limited and Dr. Adjei have contributed significantly in agriculture by building a herbal farm and farms for planting maize, cassava and plantain with about 15 employees. As a poultry farmer, he even supplies the whole community with eggs.
Dr. Adjei has constructed bore holes that provides water to all residents of the Bonuama, as well as a 20-unit water closet facility to replace the neighborhood’s outdated toilet system.
He describes himself as a devout Christian and has built a Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses to fellowship and also embarks on house-to-house evangelism, as Jesus Christ commanded.
To safeguard all of these investments and social initiatives, Dr. Adjei and Kasapreko established a police station with three completely furnished flats for officers to serve the community comfortably.
Through his networks, a rural bank will be built in Bonuama soon to serve the people’s banking needs and complete the town’s position as a modern town with essential services and amenities. The construction of standard roads is still on the agenda, as poor roads have hampered ambulance service operations due to frequent breakdowns.
The tale of Bonuama’s transformation must be recounted, and Dr. Kwabena Adjei and Kasapreko Company Limited’s outstanding strides must be amplified and replicated by all. That is the kind of service and dedication we should all aspire for and learn from. We must learn from this selfless story and give back to the society and country that raised us to realize the Ghana we all want. Indigenous entrepreneurs are a blessing to nations since their investments benefit their own country.
Life is not only about what you gain, your achievements and laurels but about the lives you touched, the persons you lift up, the families you impact and above all the societies you improve. Let us tell the story of this noble man to generations unborn and emulate his good works. As I told him before I left, Bonuama is going to produce in the coming generations not only astute business men but great transformative leaders in the form of scientists, doctors, farmers, civil society leaders and hopefully politicians who will have Bonuama at heart just as GC has.
The writer is the Director General of State Interests and Governance Authority – SIGA)