The Garment and Textiles Cluster Initiatives (GATCI), a group of professional tailors and dressmakers, have launched their flagship product – Made In Ghana boxer shorts for men and women.
The launch, on the theme: “Reviving the Garment and Textile Industry for Accelerated National Development,” was performed by Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and Mrs Gifty Twum-Ampofo, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
GATCI operates under the Cluster Development Programme (CDP) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Science and Technology Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI), which facilitates the activities of the Cluster and others.
The CDP operates on the principles of the Triple Helix, which brings together entrepreneurs, government agencies and the academia/research institutions to work towards the growth of small and medium scale industries.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsay, who was the guest speaker, said the launch was very much in sync with the government’s effort to revive the local industry and also increasing export of the non-traditional products in order to create employment, provide income and raising the standard of living of Ghanaians.
He said it was common knowledge that government was aggressively rolling out a number of initiatives, which were in tandem with the theme of the launch.
“Any attempt by any group or individuals to contribute to the realisation of the government policies is very much commendable and welcoming.
“Today’s launch falls within the general mantra of ‘produce/patronise Made In Ghana Products’. It is also within the remit of the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy and the ‘One District, One Exportable Products’.
“All these find relevance in the government’s trade policies and programmes: Ghana Trade Policy, Private Sector Development Strategy, and Industrial Sector Support Programme. So, we give our total support to CSIR-STEPRI Cluster Development Programme who is the facilitators of the GATCI,” he added.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsay said research and innovation was at the heart of the government and would work with the research institutions to produce technologies to enhance the competitiveness of the micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
“Our government is also committed to meeting one per cent of gross domestic product allocation to science, technology and innovation as agreed at the AU,” he stated.
He noted that the government also intends establishing research fund to finance research and development.
“Plans are in place to establish an Innovation Centre at the CSIR, which would also go a long way to boosting the activities of the Clusters.
“It is our conviction that these efforts would inure to the benefits of businesses, as research institutions would produce relevant technologies for business growth,” he said.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsay urged businesses to leverage the power of science, technology and innovation to grow.
Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection in speech read on her behalf said: “If government’s efforts to industrialise our economy are going to be possible, then the involvement of women is crucial and non-negotiable.”
“Women form about 51 per cent of the population and should be deeply involved if any marked impact is desired,” she added.
Dr George Essegbey, Director, CSIR-STEPRI, said STEPRI’s involvement in the GATCI project was because business development and growth was also a key thrust of their mandate.
He said currently, they were having clusters in different trades or commodities and at different levels of activeness.
He said: “Apart from the GATCI, there are other clusters engaged in mushrooms, shea butter, wood and milk.”
Madam Felicia Maku Quaye, GATCI Team Lead, said most boxers made in the western world and exported to Africa, especially Ghana were produced of fabrics like polyester and nylon which were not suitable for the tropics.
“This is what has necessitated the use of cotton African prints and fabrics in the production of boxer shorts, which are more comfortable and suitable for any hot weather condition,” she said.
Ms Gifty Kekeli Klenam, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, who chaired the launch, said the Authority was vigorously engaging stakeholders in the country to stimulate them to produce flagship products in their district for the export market.