City on the move: Kumasi, Ghana

A lumber yard in Kumasi, Ghana

A lumber yard in Kumasi, Ghana

In November 2020, the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, broke ground on the Boankra Integrated Logistics Terminal – popularly referred to as the Boankra inland port – after it was first touted as a development project 18 years ago.

The $330 million endeavour seeks to alleviate congestion at the port in Tema.

The inland port will bring major opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to Kumasi, the city closest to the project, according to Akwasi Osei-Bobie Ansah. Ansah is the CEO of Farmers Hope, a company that has built its success around producing organic fertiliser from cocoa production waste.

“Kumasi has become a hub for agriculture and for business,” says Ansah. “Even when agricultural inputs come into the port of Tema, it is first brought here before being distributed.”

Tema is connected to Kumasi by a railway line that has fallen into disrepair over the past few decades. In 2018, a project was announced to repair it. The two locations are about 275km apart.

Ansah believes the economic activity brought in by the inland port project will further fuel a city already driven by entrepreneurship. “Kumasi is full of entrepreneurs. The people of the region like to work for themselves and create opportunities.”

Farmers Hope has just secured and cleared land for its new organic fertiliser factory in this city, which will substantially increase its production capacity.

“Most big businesses settle here. You have proximity to raw materials and to the market. It is also easier to get your business exposed if you establish yourself here,” Ansah says, adding that neighbouring countries’ buyers flock to the area to procure products.

“You will see a lot of people from Mali, Burkina Faso, even Nigeria, coming here to pick up their goods. This is where you can connect with the export market.

“If you are a start-up company, it is definitely also cheaper to get started here than in Accra,” Ansah says.

At the sod-turning ceremony, president Akufo-Addo announced the inland port would provide services to importers and exporters in the middle and northern parts of the country, and also to act as a conduit for the country’s landlocked neighbours Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

The presidency indicated the terminal will be fitted with an inland clearance depot; customs bonded and unbonded estates; commercial areas such as banks, offices and trading facilities; vehicle parking areas; light industrial areas, as well as an administration complex.

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