Today the Kantanka Group of Companies in Ghana will roll out their first group of cars manufactured in Ghana. History has shown that no nation has ever developed to their full potential without having a thriving manufacturing sector.
“Three ranges of the much anticipated Kantanak cars would be launched Friday and would go on sale immediately. They are the Kantanka Onantefuo (SUV), Kantanka Omama (Pickup) and Kantanka K71 (Mini SUV)… The good thing about Kantaka vehicles which put them ahead of other luxurious vehicles like the Range Rovers, Nissan Patrols, SUVs is that they are home based… Even in capital cities, roads are notoriously ragged, deplorable. Some are inaccessible to plush imported cars, but Kwadwo assured prospective clients, “Kantanka vehicles know how our roads are” because they are designed to withstand the rough condition… “The vehicles can stand the test of Ghana’s bad roads,” he touted, adding proudly that, “All vehicles are open to customization including responding to voice command to start your ignition. A lot of people want to drive SUVs, we are giving you something that you can feel in a Range Rover, in a Land Cruiser in a very cheap price,”… What gives the Kantanka range of vehicles advantage over the imported ones is that they are durable, designed for the Ghanaian ecosystem, affordable and one does not need to order parts from abroad because they are available here.” READ MORE
Today, Ghanaians buy more imported goods than they export or manufacture, and since the hey day of independence- the manufacturing sector has practically disappeared with factories once producing for companies such as Clarks Shoes all abandoned. One would think with the millions doled out for The Millennium Development Goals during the past government and the countless loans taken by the current government all geared toward so called “development” and eliminating poverty, that homegrown manufacturing would be a major part of the investment; however too many entrepreneurs are left unsupported in having to do everything on their own even when their ventures are beneficial to the collective nation in creating much needed jobs, particularly for the growing number of unemployed and under-employed youth.
There are great entrepreneurs like Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo Kantanka and his family who are changing the dynamics of sustainable development for the future of an Africa and a Ghana in particular that believes in itself and its self-reliance. Because we have little knowledge and preservation of history, many are reporting that these are the first cars ever manufactured in Ghana, but I know for a fact that this is not true because my market woman aunt owned one of the first cars manufactured in Ghana decades ago that was the only vehicle she could afford to move her goods for sale. Unfortunately Ghanaians back then just like now had little faith in a fellow Ghanaian being able to produce a car that could match up to the western standards that they coveted, so there was little to no significant support to sustain the business in Ghana. The poor and middle class market women and others like them have always sustained the economy and continue to do so by supporting homegrown products.
“Imagine having a television set that comes on after an effortless clap or by blowing air; picture yourself in a car that is engineless and starts with a simple push of a button tucked to your dress; or a change-over-machine that speaks and tells you where exactly a fire or electrical fault is in your home.
This is not fiction. It is not magic. It is not happening in Europe or Asia and not even in the United States. These products are being manufactured in the West African nation of Ghana.
The brains behind this is Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo, owner of the Kantanka Group of Companies. He is naturally gifted. A genius. An inventor and a philanthropist. He has no formal or sophisticated technical background. He imagines, dreams and creates at will. He lives in his own world.
“We have delayed … going commercial because Africans and Ghanaians in general have the perception that once it is from Ghana, it is not good – durability is not assured, safety is not guaranteed. So we have decided to use the products ourselves and make sure they are good to go and standardised before we hit the market.
“I was in Brazil about six months ago and I was in tears. The whole of Rio de Janeiro was packed with Marcopolo buses … and these are buses that were assembled and made in Brazil.
“They patronise it. In India they encourage made-in-India vehicles – like Mahindra – and that’s my dream to one day see Kantanka cars on the streets of Accra, Kumasi and all over. I will be fulfilled,” a visibly euphoric Safo Jnr pointed out in his office fitted with a locally made air-conditioner that is switched on and off by slotting in a card.
In some countries projects such as this attract financial assistance from the government. But Ghanaian governments upon governments seem to have ignored the “Star of Africa”, as Apostle Dr. Safo is called by the people of Ghana.
Not even his self-made Limousine dubbed “Obrempong”, the speaking change-over-machine, or a range of flat-screen television sets made with wood covers that respond to a simple clap to come alive, increase or reduce volumes have fascinated the government enough to support one of their own.
“Most of the promises they have made, they say they are in the pipelines. I’m sure African pipelines are very choked so the water is not flowing. Not even the corporate world has shown concern … We are still hoping,” said Safo.
“We have had several offers from Asia and Europe, but we turn them down because we just want to stay in Africa and make sure that whatever we are doing here we’ll be able to achieve our dreams.
“People tell us that we are wasting our time because we won’t get anywhere. But we pay no attention to them, rather we make sure that we prove them wrong by meeting targets that we set for ourselves.” READ MORE
We complain about the dismal state of our economies throughout Africa and the fact that we have moved backward instead of forward since independence, but how many will support the efforts of those who are doing their part in being the change that we all say we seek instead of finding every excuse not to support their efforts in determining our own destiny in order to have generational wealth and opportunity? Today every Ghanaian should look up the history of the Ashanti Kingdom’s Sarfo-Kantanka and know why the name alone is party of our great history in self-reliance and empowerment both past and present.
“The whites believed in themselves and got to where they are now. They are no different from us. We all stayed in our mothers’ womb for nine months … If you cut a white and a black man you get blood. The only differences are our names and colors. So we should believe in ourselves. We must reduce the talking and put in work.“- Safo Jnr. – CEO of the Kantanka Group of Companies
I am glad to see Prof. Lumumba effecting/ affecting mental change amongst Africans, particularly the youth who are more than ready to learn and to lead. They refuse to sit back and continue to have their dreams deferred!
The wind of change that brought mass Independence across Africa came because Africans believed in themselves and their ability to reach the greatest of heights in excellence independently with a respected seat at the negotiation table. Today Africans/Africa has lost faith in both nations and people in handling their own affairs because Africa is at war with itself, to the point where if our freedom fighters came to see what has become of their legacies they would invoke the late great Marvin Gaye’s song “Make me Wanna Holler…Throw up both my hands”. They would be confronted with an Africa that is not proud of its things and an Africa that does not tell its own story, but rather leaves the same ones whom they gained independence from to have control of the narrative because many of our elders have sold out the future because selfishness and greed have made them too lazy to pursue the excellence set my the blueprint of independence.
Africa is a continent where respect for our elders is an innate part of our culture, but many of our elders have failed us and have not earned their entitled sense of respect in creating and leaving the next generation with the future that was once offered them at the time of independence. Far too many have stolen and continue to steal the future from the youth with no sense of duty as elders who are entitled to the respect of the youth. There are many young Africans like Kwadwo Safo Jr. who who haves dreams of pursuing and attaining excellence at home on African soil, but there are not enough elders like his father who give the youth opportunity to dream in the pursuits and attainments of excellence at home for the collective nation and its future!
“The tragedy of Africa is the failure of the African leader to realize that you are not successful until your successor succeeds”-Prof. Lumumba