The global auto industry is a key sector of the economy for every advanced country in the world. As a matter of fact, it is considered to be a major influence on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) capital of such states. A continent like Africa could benefit immensely from the rise or emergence of an indigenous automobile industry should there be any.
Poverty ranks high amongst the tentacles of the African Union. Unemployment is currently crippling the available human resource in the African continent. Once again the African legend of Technology, Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo of Ghana, has made a timely intervention that steps up a nudge on the traditional Four-wheel drive systems.
It is important to note before stepping into the depth of this article that, the introduction of an automobile industry in Africa could limit “poverty through unemployment” to a minimal figure. This is because the auto-mobile industry is a broad canvass for hiring personnel (engineering, foundry, electronics, electrical, designing, assembly line for components, sale and service of motor vehicles, legal, marketing, accounting, Finance, human resource etc).
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labour, the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labour market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the U.S economy, the automobile industry in the United States as at May 2013 had given employment to 3,672,600 ( three million, six hundred and seventy two thousand, six hundred) people. The breakdown is shown in the data below.
National Employment Statistics of USA in the Automobile IndustryUNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
BUREAU OF LABOUR STATISTICS
Employment -- Seasonally Adjusted
|Data series||One year ago: May 2012||Mar. 2013||Apr. 2013||May-13||1-month change:|
Apr. 2013 to May 2013
May 2012 to May 2013
|Motor vehicles and parts manufacturing||770,300||796,900||794,200||796,600||2,400||26,300|
|Motor vehicle and parts dealers||1,727,300||1,760,800||1,760,800||1,762,100||1,300||34,800|
The development of an indigenous automobile industry in Africa will, include other things, offer the continent a chance of economic redemption from the current state of economic bondage.
The Kantanka Onantefo, second vehicle locally manufactured by the African Star, made its first public appearance in 2007 at Awoshie, Ghana, during the Kristo Asafo Annual Charity and Technology Exhibition. The public display of this exquisite four-seater 4×4 (entire body and diesel engine built from scratch in Ghana) re-echoed to the world that the African is capable. The sparkling dark green vehicle was driven across the venue field amidst cheers, applauds and salutes from the amazed crowd. Though the multitude had always been expecting a masterpiece from the African Star, he had once again gone beyond what any of them imagined.
As the cross country vehicle was being driven around the compound, media men captured the Kantanka Logo embedded on the front grille of the vehicle in the form of a silver star. Below the grille, the brand name had been boldly inscribed “KANTANKA”. Even fore-runners of the media such as Grace Omaboe (ace Ghanaian talk show host) couldn’t hide her excitement upon seeing the vehicle.
Honourable dignitaries such as Joyce Aryee (Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Accra) and Hon. Owusu Agyepong (then Majority Leader of Ghana parliament) were also shown the interior luxury of the vehicle. They appraised the quality leather seats and high sense of driving comfort. Invited guests to the occasion were also allowed turns to passenger this vehicle of abundant historical value.
Let’s quickly add that the Kantanka Onantefo, on myriad occasions, has been driven on the Accra-Cape Coast road. The high speed and ease of negotiating the curve at the Winneba roundabout attracted the attention of passers-by. They could not hide their enthusiasm when they found out that the car was made in Ghana by the Star of Africa. The vehicle is currently being used by the Apostle and his workers for their day to day activities; from Accra to Takoradi, Accra to Kumasi, Accra to Suyani, within the Accra Metropolitan Area etc.
It is worthy to know that neither the glittering appearance of the 4×4 nor the precision of its components was attained overnight. It took the enduring but conscious effort of the African Star, as well as his team of workers at the Apostle Safo Suaye Technology Research Centre (Gomoa Mpota, Central Region, Ghana) to produce such quality results. For months, the workers undertook the project tirelessly.
The Star of Africa himself was on his feet during the entire working periods, offering physical and knowledge support day and night (through rain and broad daylight). Like most of the machines he has manufactured, he first drew the design of the vehicle on paper and specified the measurements needed to achieve the results he expects.
He then proceeded to impact the knowledge onto his workers and guided them to transcribe the paper work into the gorgeous Kantanka Onantefɔ. He pledged to make a next Kantanka vehicle after this. According to Him, the aim of all these is to show the capabilities of the African and redeem the continent from economic bondage. “The mind of the Black man is at its peak, not dead.” Dr. Safo explains “I came to redeem you (Africans) from slavery.
When Jesus Christ came to the world, he rescued people from their troubles. When Moses came, he rescued the Israelites. So anyone who calls himself man of God redeems people from distress, he does not burden them. Poverty exists, but if you make a conscious effort you will overpower it… I am still the Star of Africa. Whatever we have to do to bridge the gap (developmental gap), so far as I am alive, we will do exactly that.”
As part of the gap bridging process, the vehicle was strategically manufactured to provide it with a competitive advantage when it emerges on the market and wrestles with the existing vehicles. The constituents of the vehicle were carefully developed to enable the vehicle last longer. This would give the consumer value for his/her money and also prevent the emergence of claims that African cars do not last.
Another ingenuity to note about the Star of Africa is the way he develops his engines. He combines sea shells and husk of palm fruits together with other stuff and technically processed them into metals which he uses to manufacture his engines. Obtaining metals from renewable sources, what a magnificent invention! Undoubtedly, He really is the Star of Africa.
“I knew that metals could only be obtained from the earth through mining. But to obtain metals from sea shells and husks of palm fruits, I am short of words…” exclaimed an overwhelmed visitor of the Centre. The Centre has its own foundry for producing metal castings. Also, all metals used in the manufacture of the vehicle were moulded at there.
The chassis of Kantanka Onantefo is made of galvanized metals. The dashboard facing the entire passenger compartment is nothing short of spectacular. It’s made of wood and artistically ravaged with Formica to give it a sleek standard touch. The front row seats are extra comfy to relax the driver on a hectic journey.
The African Star’s genius also offers the most quality of audio entertainment through the speakers. It is virtually a “Pleasure Jet” and driving or not, one would love to be in the confines of this vehicle.
No wonder many of the invited guests had hard times parting with it. Justice P.K Gyaesayor of the Fast Track High Court for instance remarked “I will be the first to sit in this car… I am really interested …” The Judge backed this with a smile of approval.
Another inspiring attribute of this Man of God is his open acceptance of positive contemporary themes such as Women Empowerment. A great percentage of women are involved especially in the making of this four-wheel drive. The grille for instance was the exclusive craftsmanship of a young woman.
Many people get overwhelmed upon seeing the amazing works of the African Star for they had previously thought that those things are seen only in imaginary or fiction movies. Neil McCarthy, a correspondent from the BBC, said “James Bond Stuff…” upon eye witnessing Apostle Dr. Safo’s inventions.
True indeed, he is right. Fix the car keys into the ignition of the Kantanka 4×4 and you will be surprised to hear in Twi, a local Ghanaian dialect, the car speaking!!!
It will voice out “Please, I wish to inform you that the vehicle in which you are seated was made by Odeneho Nana Safo Kantanka, Africa’s hope. Please, have you checked the vehicle water, oil, brake fluid, tyres…If all your answers are yes then I remind you once again, Odeneho Nana Safo Kantanka made this car. May God see you through, Thank You.” How many cars have voice prompts on road safety and wish you well for the day? Only Kantanka vehicles have this privilege and they’re right here in Africa. What more could define classic value for your money?
In reverse gear, the car has another voice prompt. Many witnesses to the voice message have applauded in laughter. The vehicle, set with a comforting female voice, notifies upon reverse to pedestrians “Please stand aside, I am coming backwards. I’m coming backwards, don’t you hear? Think not of (accident) insurance but stand aside”. This is a humorous and safer relief to pedestrians than the noisy horns of cars that have left some unfortunately deaf.
The Minister of Finance as at 2007, the late Hon. Kwadwo Baah Wiredu of blessed memory called on the Apostle in his Gomoa Mpota residence of operation. The minister personally sat in the Kantanka 4×4 and took it for a spin. Upon return, he alighted with a smile and shook the Apostle’s hand firmly. He had come to believe in the African Star! He wasn’t the only one interested in seeing the Apostle’s works.
From time to time, private individuals and visitors from religious organizations, NGOs, schools and other major institutions go to witness the African revolution at Apostle Safo’s Centre. The taking of videos and photographs with mobile phones to cheers and being proud as Africans ,are some of the scenes that characterise the atmosphere of these visits to the centre.
Among the dignitaries who went to see and appreciate Kantanka Onantefɔ are the following people and these are what they had to say about it (comments):
“…It’s going to CHALLENGE the existing vehicles. We probably think that we have seen the best of Four-wheel drives! This is a good entrepreneurial venture. We are convinced at what he is doing. HE is somebody who has foresight; He is somebody who has VISION. What you (Apostle) are doing now is what happened in Europe some years back. That is why they have the so-called urge over us. If we had people like you then, probably we would not be where we are today; but there is still hope. We have started. We need more people like you and people like you have to be encouraged. With the proper encouragement, the sky is the limit. There is NOTHING we can’t do” —Andy Ojei (Managing Director, Zenith Bank Ghana Ltd)
“ When I saw the car, I was not surprised because I knew Apostle could do it.…I used to say nothing surprises me very much about the Apostle but today, let me say, he has re-assured my faith in him and exceeded expectations. People should come and see this!! It (Kantanka 4×4 and its components) was not imported from anywhere. I saw him start from the scratch right here, and He has finished the manufacturing here too”
—Dr. Sobotie (Principal of University of Education Winneba, Kumasi Campus, Ghana)
“Why is it that when our fellow African is doing such great things, he receives no Government Support? Apostle is doing all this with his own mind and financial strength. It will benefit us all after all…”
——Justice Gyaesayor (Fast Track High Court Judge, Ghana)
“We have someone whom we can look up to and live good lives. This person is Osagyefo Apostle Kwadwo Safo…Nobody will come and develop our nation for us except ourselves…”
—-Ms Joyce Aryee (Chief Executive Office, Ghana Chamber of Mine, Accra).
The automobile industry is an absorbing resource. This is because it consumes lots of goods and services from other sectors including raw materials, machinery, legal services, finance, health services etc. Let us take control of our own destiny and do away with economic dependency, unemployment, underdevelopment and irrelevant criticism.
The Star of Africa will surely succeed. It will be to the credit of the continent if governments lend him the needed hand to bring the timely redemption that Africans desperately need. We have a choice, to help feed ourselves or set our daily bread on the fire of indecision and misplaced priority. The destiny of Africa is in our own hands!!