African Engineers: Sosthenes Buatsi


Sosthenes Buatsi was the first man or woman to be appointed a Study Fellow in the new Know-how Consultancy Centre (TCC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technologies (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, when it opened in 1972. In August 1980, Sosthenes Buatsi became the very first Supervisor of an Intermediate Technological innovation Transfer Unit (ITTU) when the pilot ITTU commenced operating in Suame Journal. Beneath his stewardship, until finally September 1986 when he was appointed the initial Ghanaian Director of the TCC, the Suame ITTU obtained a stage of efficiency in technology transfer that has never been surpassed. Nevertheless Sosthenes Buatsi still identified time to create his possess non-public business, Ayigya Metallic Products Ltd, which was copied a hundred situations and encouraged an business utilizing five thousand workers.

Before he joined the TCC in August 1972, Sosthenes Buatsi experienced expended eighteen months getting publish-graduate function encounter in Switzerland. A graduate of KNUST’s Faculty of Artwork with a BSc diploma in metal initiatives structure, Sosthenes was normally a fingers-on particular person with simple as well as developing competencies. To enable him meet up with the challenge of taking care of the ITTU, Sosthenes was offered leave to attend a one-year MSc program in industrial management in the university’s recently shaped Department of Economics and Industrial Administration.

When he moved to Suame Journal to take care of the ITTU, Sosthenes confronted a unique problem. The intention of the ITTU was to display new production systems and the manufacture of new goods and invite self-employed artisans to appear for training, foremost to the transfer of the action to private workshops. At the exact time the ITTU essential to sell the products of its workshops, the two in get to balance its textbooks and to show the viability of the new items in the neighborhood market. Even so, when personal workshops took more than an innovation from the ITTU, there was constantly the threat of the ITTU becoming accused of competing with its personal protégés. To steer clear of this, the ITTU wanted to move on to new actions as soon as the sector could be provided by the private sector. Running the ITTU demanded an outward emphasis on the desires of customer artisans and a large diploma of sensitivity and flexibility.

Couple people have reached this mix of capabilities as very well as Sosthenes Buatsi. Most of his successors who have tried and failed have carried out so due to the fact their emphasis was on building income for the ITTU workshops fairly than on sub-contracting orders to clientele as soon as the purchasers acquired the signifies to make the items. Getting more than enough function to retain the ITTU workshops active was the obligation of the Chief Technician and Sosthenes Buatsi was greatly assisted in this spot by Edward Opare and the Principal Technician in demand of the Plant Development Section, Daniel Cheku. With this strong staff the Suame ITTU carried out its full functionality in technological know-how transfer and balanced its publications by way of many years of political upheaval, energy energy cuts and 3-day-functioning.

Soon after having about in September 1986, Sosthenes Buatsi’s service as Director of the TCC was marked by the introduction of a range of new systems such as the manufacture of bicycle trailers and hand carts, concrete roofing tiles and refractory ceramic crucibles for metallic casting. He also initiated an expansion of the TCCs agricultural projects to involve animal husbandry in affiliation with minimum-tillage crop output and the formulation of locally-developed feed for fish farming. His crowning achievement was to win and properly execute a agreement to control a three-calendar year rural industrial development undertaking in Malawi funded by the Planet Financial institution. This venture associated Sosthenes Buatsi spending several months in commuting to Malawi, and specialists from the TCC and KNUST made many visits over the 3 year interval, with many spending up to six months on their mission. By this effort, about twelve rural business technologies designed and/or tailored in Kumasi had been transferred to Malawi, countless numbers of kilometres to the south.

When he returned from Switzerland in 1972, Sosthenes Buatsi introduced with him a metallic spinning lathe. The equipment was used sporadically in the TCC’s campus workshop and it was not until finally the late 1980s that Sosthenes determined to use it in a compact relatives business enterprise. At first, development was slow because of to shortages of raw content: non-ferrous metallic sheets, but factors obtained much better when Aluworks Ltd commenced making aluminium sheets in Tema and marketing them on nearby marketplaces. Sosthenes moved his company to Tema to be nearer the resource of raw product and persuaded his brother, Robert, then an officer of the Gratis Challenge in Tema, to supervise the perform. Ayigya Steel Products Ltd, producing aluminium pots, pans and bowls of good wide range and attractive structure, and offering at costs in just the get to of most people today, unveiled a marketplace of great prospective.

Numerous community traders and artisans sought to set up metal spinning enterprises but the spinning lathes ended up not available. The Tema ITTU took up the make any difference, and with the complete cooperation of the Buatsi brothers, Kofi Asiamah’s Redeemer Workshop in Tema was aided to make replicas of the Swiss device. In a 10 years the business in Tema encompassed extra than 1 hundred smaller enterprises utilizing an estimated 5 thousand employees.

By this time Sosthenes Buastsi was retired but retained by the TCC as a marketing consultant. Denying himself the spoils of an quick lifetime overseas, Sosthenes Buatsi spent the total of his doing the job job, and effectively into retirement, in the assistance of Ghana and of Africa. He set an illustration that his contemporaries may perhaps admire, and his successors really should consider as a part design.


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