We are happy to announce Mr Sammy King, our student from Ghana, as the winner of the write-up contest – “ Business opportunity in my city”.  As the winner,  he wins a $100 voucher.
It is an extremely interesting article where Mr King sheds light on how business opportunity from Waste Management can lead to a better life for the people of Ghana and eventually, the whole world. Read on:

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY IN ACCRA, GHANA

Imagine contributing to the cleanliness of a city and making huge profits in the process! Imagine creating jobs for large numbers of unemployed youth in a developing country and helping them get decent wages! Imagine transforming a city into the cleanest one in Africa ! Just imagine…

Accra is the capital of Ghana, West Africa and there are many business opportunities that are unique to Ghana and for that matter, Accra. Many businesses can be created from the predominant occupation of farming (Agriculture) in the country.

Ghana is the second largest producer of cacao (the main ingredient for the production of chocolate) in the world. There is a huge potential for the production of chocolate for export. Herbal medicine is another area of opportunity where abundant herbs in the forests of Ghana can be used for production of many pharmaceutical drugs. These herbs could also be exported to pharmaceutical companies abroad. There is a whole town that is into production of tomatoes and hence there is a business opportunity to produce vast quantities of tomato paste for export.

However, here, I chose to highlight the enormous potential of waste management in Accra. In as much as other businesses might generate equal or more profits, waste management goes beyond the need for profit and delves into humanity’s quest for a sustainable environment. I see this write-up as an opportunity to personally appeal to the global community to seriously deal with the issue of waste management. I have had close relations die of cholera (a disease that could have been prevented if waste management were taken seriously) and so for me this issue is a ‘personal feeling’.

Sustainability and Business was the first module of my Master’s in International Business Administration (MBA) program with Athena Global Education and this module illuminated my understanding of how little we are doing as human beings to help sustain our environment for the next generation. It revealed to me how small efforts individually can go a long way to help keep our environment green. Ever since undertaking that module, “I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use” – these words of Mother Teresa resonate with me. For me, “Waste is only waste if we waste it”

The problem

Ghana (with a population of about 30 million) is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa generating almost 25,000 metric tonnes of waste, with Accra Metropolis (a population of more than 4 million) generating about 3,000 metric tonnes of waste daily (GNA, 2015). As a developing country, Ghana has to contend with sanitation and waste management as major challenges. Rapid urbanisation has compounded the problem, draining the meagre resources of the capital.

Accra has poor infrastructure and many of its residents are in the low-level income bracket, living in communities with very dense populations. Gutters in Accra are mostly open-gutters and are persistently clogged with waste.

Residents organise parties, events and funerals in the open including streets of Accra and the waste of these party events eventually finds its way into gutters because they are not cleared immediately after such programmes. Even when the gutters are cleared, the wastes are not collected on time into bins but are left piled on the edges of the drains they are gathered from. A rainstorm sends these wastes back into the drains collecting with it plastic wastes to line up the beaches of Accra. This garbage collection in drains has contributed largely to flooding of many areas of Accra during rainy seasons.

On June 3, 2015, floods in Accra killed more than 200 people. The flood was mainly caused by choked gutters blocking the flow of waters into the drainage system.

Accra is a fast-growing city and the city managers are getting overwhelmed by the enormous task of managing its waste. Apart from the many annual premature deaths of citizens associated with hygiene and poor sanitation, waste management is also estimated to cost 1.6% of the country’s GDP ($290,000,000) annually (World Bank, 2012).

It is expected that the population of Africa will rapidly grow to 2.5 billion by 2050. The World Bank has also estimated the rate of waste generation to increase by 200% in the next two decades mostly in lower income countries like Ghana. This means that Accra, in the near future, will be generating more waste than it is doing now.

Many measures have been adopted by countries to combat the menace of waste including banning plastic bags and non-biodegradable materials. Banning plastic in Ghana at once will be costly due to the rampant presence of plastic companies employing thousands of people. Successive governments have not succeeded in banning the use of plastics.

The business opportunity

With the present government coming to power in 2017, Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo created a new ministry in charge of Sanitation and pledged to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. The government went ahead to provide tax incentives to private organisations that are willing to invest in the area of sanitation and waste management.

Through this article, I hereby invite business entities in the field of waste management all over the world to accept this challenge and help drive the sustainability agenda. Apart from the massive profits that await investors, there is also the opportunity to help save lives and make our world a better and greener place to live. I call all the way from the wilderness of West Africa that you come over to Accra and take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

References:

Ghana Statistical Service (2020). Population by Regions: Greater Accra [online]. https://statsghana.gov.gh/regionalpopulation.php?population=MTM0NTk2MjQzOS4yMDE1&&Greater%20Accra&regid=3 (Accessed: 16 August 2020)

GNA (2015). Ghana to generate 25,000 metric tons of waste daily [online].

http://citifmonline.com/2015/01/ghana-generate-25000-metric-tons-waste-daily
(Accessed: 16 August 2020)