Mon. Oct 18th, 2021

Of all of the Ghanaian engineers that I got here to know personally throughout my twenty six years in Ghana, the one who did most to advertise the event of the engineering trade, and industries usually, was Dr Francis Acquah. A local of Cape Coast within the Central Area, Francis Acquah was a chemical engineer and had already risen to be Head of the Division of Chemical Engineering on the Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Expertise (KNUST), Kumasi, once I first got here into contact with him in 1972. From the outset it was clear that Francis Acquah shared my curiosity in applicable expertise and grassroots industrial improvement and we have been to work collectively on a number of vital initiatives over the following twenty years. It’s gratifying to document that this relationship, each private {and professional}, continued virtually with out interruption by way of three navy coups and intervals of financial disaster, as Dr Acquah rose by way of the Industrial Analysis Institute (IRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Analysis (CSIR) to develop into Deputy Minister and later Secretary of State for Industries, Science and Expertise.

As Director of the Expertise Consultancy Centre (TCC) of KNUST, it was my duty to seek out consultants from amongst the tutorial employees of the college to help consumer industrialists with their issues. In 1972 it appeared that every one the issues concerned chemistry or chemical engineering with shoppers asking for assist to make cleaning soap and paper glue, caustic soda and pesticides. Francis Acquah responded enthusiastically to those challenges and he and his colleagues helped with the design of small-scale processing crops to satisfy the wants of the pioneering shoppers and lots of who adopted. It was the rising demand for small-scale crops to supply palm oil, cleaning soap and caustic soda, that stimulated a must switch the manufacture to personal sector workshops and led ultimately to the undertaking to determine Intermediate Expertise Switch Items (ITTU), a undertaking that Dr Acquah was destined to advertise on a nationwide scale.

First proposed in 1975, funding for ITTUs didn’t develop into out there till 1979, when the Canadian Worldwide Growth Company (CIDA) agreed to contribute to the funding of an ITTU in Suame Journal in Kumasi and america Company for Worldwide Growth (USAID) agreed to assist an ITTU in Tamale within the Northern Area. The Suame ITTU moved forward rapidly when the Authorities of Ghana bought an appropriate constructing already constructed within the coronary heart of the Journal.The ITTU turned operational in August 1980.

I can’t recall precisely when Francis Acquah left KNUST to affix IRI but it surely was a turbulent interval in Ghana’s historical past. In July 1978, the administration of Basic Acheampong had been changed by that of Basic Akuffo who promised a common election and a return to democratic authorities. Earlier than this might occur, Basic Akuffo was swept away by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on 4 June 1979. Nonetheless, the elections have been held, and the administration of President Hilla Limann had taken workplace by the point of the formal opening of the Suame ITTU in January 1981. The federal government was represented by the Minister for Industries, Science and Expertise, Mr M P Ansah, supported by his two Deputy Ministers, one among whom was Dr Francis Acquah.

No matter hand Francis Acquah had in clearing the best way for the Suame ITTU, he now turned a serious pressure behind the event of the Tamale ITTU. It was a time of nice financial hardship with acute shortages of all constructing supplies. With no appropriate constructing to purchase in Tamale it was essential to embark on a brand new building. Progress was gradual, however with out the assist of the Ministry it might have been not possible. Some progress was made, however all got here to a halt on 31 December 1981 when Rawlings executed his ‘second coming.’

Dr Hilla Limann and his Deputy President, Dr Joe DeGraft Johnson, have been positioned underneath home arrest and all of the members of their administration have been dismissed. Francis Acquah was universally thought to be a technocrat who had no political affiliation. He advised me that he was requested to remain on on the Ministry of Industries, Science and Expertise (MIST) however refused so long as ‘his president remained underneath home arrest.’ Nevertheless, when some three years later the previous President had regained his freedom, Dr Francis Acquah returned to MIST as Secretary of State.

The USAID assist for the Tamale ITTU was a part of the Growth and Software of Intermediate Expertise (DAPIT) undertaking which additionally included assist for Francis Acquah’s outdated employer, IRI. With sturdy assist from MIST the undertaking moved ahead as quick as doable. However Francis Acquah was not happy with two ITTUs, he needed one in every of Ghana’s ten areas. So he requested the TCC to attract up a plan for such a undertaking which later turned referred to as Ghana Regional Applicable Expertise Industrial Service (GRATIS), the acronym implying that it offered a supply of free technical info, recommendation and coaching for small and casual sector enterprises.

Dr Francis Acquah presided over the opening of three ITTUs: Tamale in April 1988, Tema in June 1988 and his house city, Cape Coast, in December 1988. He would have preferred to remain on to complete his work however unwell well being led to his resignation in 1989. When match once more he returned to work at IRI and ended his distinguished profession as Director of the Nationwide Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI). We continued to satisfy recurrently till I left Ghana in August 1997, and though our initiatives have been on a smaller scale than previously, Francis Acquah by no means misplaced his enthusiasm for any thought that would advance the grassroots industrialisation of Ghana.

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