Joy News’ Benjamin Tetteh is a finalist in the
African Story Challenge, a Pan-African
initiative that supports best story ideas across
the continent. Benjamin’s story on Africa’s
drive at producing its own cars, focuses on
the Kantanka Automobile project in the
Central region of Ghana. Below is his first blog
for the African Story Challenge.
What comes to mind first when Ghana is
To some people Ghana is about playing
beautiful football, as a taxi driver told me in
his broken English while in Marrakech,
Morocco. To soccer lovers, names like Michael
Essien, Sully Muntari, and Abedi Pele easily
come up each time you introduce yourself as a
Boxing fans will mention Azumah Nelson and
Ike (Bazooka) Quartey, among others.
Statesmen like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, founding
father of the Republic of Ghana, and former UN
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan are other names
that come up when speaking about Ghana.
Over the years, many things have helped
project Ghana to the rest of the world. From
its stable democracy and relative good
governance, Ghana has been a shining
example to the rest of the world.
In the field of production, Ghana has relied
mainly on raw materials such as Gold and
Cocoa. The country is the second largest
producer of Cocoa, after its neighbor- Ivory
Coast. Attempts to improve and diversify the
economy have been daunting so far, in spite of
several attempts. Lately, however, various
individuals are coming up with local
innovations which are competing for attention
on the international stage.
One such innovation is the basis of my story,
and won me a place as a finalist in the African
Story Challenge competition. It is the Great
Akosa Automobile Company.
For about a decade, one man, Apostle
Kwadwo Sarfo Kantanka, a religious leader
cum entrepreneur, has been experimenting
with the manufacture of a range of products-
from simple farm implements to complex 4×4
vehicles. Even though none of the cars is out
for sale yet, the euphoria greeting news of the
company going commercial with its range of
Kantanka cars, is overwhelming. A few high
profile test drives have been carried out so far,
and public expectations are high.
Over the last month, I have been on the trail
of this story, touring the company’s new
facility. It is located in a rural village in the
Central Region of Ghana, called Gomoa Mpota.
What welcomes you to the factory premises is
the image of what Great Akosa Automobile
seeks to represent- the Star of Africa. In the
middle of the compound, stands a giant
statue of the map of Africa with an image of
Apostle Sarfo Kantanka embossed in the map.
Stars surround the map painted in golden
colours. The Apostle has always reiterated
what Ghana’s founding Father, Dr. Kwame
Nkrumah once said, that “The Black man is
capable of managing his own affairs.”
Photo: Workers at the factory that strives to
make 100% Ghanaian products
Behind the statue sits a wooden helicopter. It
is one of the Apostle’s attempts at
manufacturing what he terms wholly African
products. Young men and women are seen
busy using simple machines and producing
complex car engines. The Apostle has been
spotted several times in town driving in Four-
Wheeled vehicles that can look just like a Ford
Expedition or any classic SUV one can think of,
all manufactured right here in Gomoa Mpota.
At the factory, several SUVs are parked
outside, an intriguing sight to behold.
Photo: A Kantanka ride
What is generating national and international
attention is the news that the company plans
to begin large-scale commercial production.
While visiting the factory I had hoped to meet
Apostle Sarfo Kantanka, the man behind the
vision. That hope is dashed for now. He was
not available. Rather, his son, Sarfo Kantanka
Junior, a pilot, who is now CEO of the
company, was on hand to meet me. He seems
to share a lot of his father’s dreams. He
believes the company will start large-scale
production by the first quarter of next year,
with an estimated 200 cars each month.
How does Great Akosa Automobile plan to do