Kantanka cars made in Ghana. Yes that’s right. An African company manufacturing cars in Africa. The name ‘Kantanka’ doesn’t roll off the tongue like BMW, Toyota, and Mercedes, which is understandable. These brands have been driven for decades all over the world – including in Africa. So can the new kid on the block make a dent in the tough exterior of the global automobile industry from a corner in West Africa?
According to the Africa Report, inflation in Ghana was around 18.5% in February 2016. Unsurprisingly the Bank of Ghana is part of an IMF programme on job creation and economic growth. For developing countries to move up the development index, home grown businesses, whether it be manufacturing, agriculture or services, are key.
The road to production has been long, with inception of Kantanka cars starting in the 1970’s. The Brain child of Kwadwo Safo, Kantanka cars are being rolled onto public roads in Ghana by his son, CEO Kwadwo Safo Jr, who is determined to make Kantanka a household name.
Unfortunately, the $18,000 to $35,000 price tag maybe out of reach for the average Ghanaian, but some businesses and the Ghana police service have started to use the cars. In a country which imports more foreign goods than it should, due to the fledging manufacturing industry in Ghana and the perception that foreign products are ‘better’ than domestic products, Kantanka has a lot of (PR) work to do! Also, at the moment the Kantanka factory can only produce around 100 cars a month.
Some Ghanaians who can afford it are willing to buy homemade cars BUT want solid evidence that the cars can match up to international cars.
Kantanka want the “Made in Ghana” tag to become a slogan of pride and has developed cars for the domestic market. It is the first car brand to be designed and manufactured in Ghana.
Ghanaians are employed at the Safo Technology Research Centre located between Gomoa Mpota and Gomoa Asebu, just outside the capital Accra. Apparently, the research centre is located on part of the land acquired by Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The wood from the dashboard is sourced from Ghanaian forests and the leather seats are manufactured in Ghana’s second city – Kumasi.
Safo Jr. has big ambitions for the Kantanka brand and has already used African movie and music stars to test the cars. These African cars are for sale, watch this space.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (Former First Lady of the US; 1884-1962).
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“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. Rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K Rowling (Author; 1965 – present).
“Taking risk is not about throwing caution to the wind, it’s about freeing the decisions you make from the fear of their outcomes” – Danny Boyle (Film director, October 1956-present)
“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” – Demosthenes (Greek orator and statesman, 384–322 BC)
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”. – Charles Darwin (English scientist; 1809 – 1882).
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.” – George Allen (American football coach; April 1918 – December 1990).
“I learned that good judgment comes from experience and that experience grows out of mistakes.” – Omar Bradley (US Army general WWII; February 12, 1893 – April 8, 1981).
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“Temptations, unlike opportunities, will always give you many second chances.” – O.A. Battista (Canadian-American chemist and author; 1917 – October 1995)
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“The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.” Henri Nouwen (Dutch writer; 1935–1996).
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“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius (Roman emperor & Stoic philosopher; 121-180AD).
“Perfection is the enemy of greatness.” – Janelle Monáe (Singer, December 1985-present)
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams (American Cartoonist; 1957–present).
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.” – Truman Capote (American author, 1924 – August 25, 1984).
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“Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brain power.” – Barbara Jordan(Civil rights leader & first African-American elected to the Texas Senate; February 1936 – January 1996).
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Interview with James Arthur Baldwin (American novelist; 1924 – 1987)
The Paris review, 1984: The Art of Fiction No. 78
Q: As your experience about writing accrues, what would you say increases with knowledge?
A: “You learn how little you know. It becomes much more difficult because the hardest thing in the world is simplicity”.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass(American social reformer, orator and writer; 1818 -1895).
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“It is easy to romanticize poverty, to see poor people as inherently lacking agency and will. It is easy to strip them of human dignity, to reduce them to objects of pity. This has never been clearer than in the view of Africa from the American media, in which we are shown poverty and conflicts without any context.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie(Nigerian Author; September 1977 – present)