Our firm got its start after our founder noticed that East African countries largely engaged in exporting raw coffee. He spent time studying the market and trying to understand why adding value locally was so difficult. FairAfric was then born to kick start value addition efforts in Ghana. He began by working with the government before getting into private-sector dealings. After we found ourselves in frequent competitive disadvantages, we decided to establish our chocolate making factory here in Ghana.
In 2019, we achieved a 10,000 bar per-hour processing capacity here in Ghana. It was amazing to get this done right in the middle of the pandemic. Our idea of value addition is not just turning beans into chocolate bars, it’s also about empowering locals by creating opportunities. Our outreach extends to farmers and also local people that help this industry move forward through their talents.
We are proud to have reached the million-bar milestone and can also confirm that our chocolate is 100% organic.
We have to ensure that we stay update to not only the needs but the new developments out there. It is also imperative for us to look into the future to see how best we can prepare. I took some time to look at our graduate programmes and compared them to those in international markets. I also took some time to analyse the skill level and work ethic in various markets compared to ours. My analysis has me convinced me that we must fix our issues by redoing our whole education system. We must turn to problem-solving oriented education so that we can service the needs of all stakeholders in our societies.
Graduates shouldn’t have to seek additional skills so that they can be useful to the job market. Precious productive years are lost when graduates have to be retrained because universities didn’t do a good enough job. The way around this is to ensure that the time spent by students in the university is worthwhile and that they are ready to offer value immediately after graduation. Our institution, therefore, invites business leaders and other industry captains to give input on what we teach, while also advising on the mode of delivery. Collaboration will also help universities get better. If schools from different parts of the continent communicate, then skills can be shared and our students can all benefit.
The pandemic hit the oil and gas sector hard and oil prices spiralled down rapidly. The downturn is causing anxiety and is deterring projects from being pursued as planned. The pandemic has caused major players in Ghana such as Aker Energy to re-strategise due to new supply chain complexities as well as current oil prices. At the beginning of the year, we had amazing projections of what was going to happen in our industry within the next two to three years. Companies like Aker Energy, ENI, Tullow Oil, and Exxon Mobil were making big moves. All of their laid out plans are up in the air at the moment, but things may change for the better as we progress into a more stable situation.
The silver lining is that the challenges experienced this year are stimulating a global shift to renewable energy. Companies and investors are looking at alternative sources of energy, and that will lead to new opportunities for companies such as ourselves. In regards to local content, the Petroleum Commission has done well to ensure international companies have local joint venture partners and transfer knowledge and skills to these local partners. By building local capacity tangible benefits shall trickle down to local communities in many ways.