The Ghana Standards Authority, GSA, has certified an innovation by a 32-year old Ghanaian, Richard Kwarteng, known as ‘Solar Wash’, which facilitates the washing of hands as one of the precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
The certification, which took a record time of four days instead of the usual twenty-one working days, allows the commercialization of the product on a larger scale for local and external use.
After news of the invention went viral, President Akufo-Addo in one of his nationwide addresses on COVID-19 update; asked the appropriate agencies to contact and offer him support.
The Chief Executive Officer,CEO, of the Ghana Standards Authority, Prof. Alex Dodoo in an interview with Citi Business News, said the Authority will ensure that Ghanaian innovations that will help in containing the spread of the COVID-19 receive the right support and approval.
“It’s a small start, I would admit but it’s a huge jump for the Ghanaian industry. If other companies will realize that their job is to partner others, so that they can make a lot of good products and profit then we can be self-sufficient. That is what the challenge we have been throwing to the industries. Industries must rise to the challenge. There are so many areas. This is a small product but it’s a huge jump, in fact, it’s a mega leap for us if you are thinking of domestic self-sufficiency and building domestic capacities,” he said.
“It is difficult to see how the inventor can move very fast, however what the standard authorities promised is that we have a team of engineers, biomedical and civil engineers, so we have promised him that we are happy to partner in the name of the authority to help them to scale up. This means that we will work with people who produce containers. You don’t necessarily have to use metals. You can use plastic. If we partner with the Standards Authority and with one or two technical universities you can easily scale it up to 2,000 pieces a week and that means that you are creating jobs,” he added.
Richard Kwarteng, the brain behind the invention, owns a shoe manufacturing company which he started seven years ago. But due to the partial lockdown in some parts of the country, he had to close down his shoe manufacturing business, Anning Blaq, which employs over thirty people.
Taking inspiration from the advent of Veronica buckets especially at a time almost every country is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, he says he decided to come up with an advanced system which will not require people to physically touch the tap; through the use of a remote sensor.
With the help of two friends; Richard Edem Kofie and Amankwa Boakye, who have backgrounds in Fabrication and electronics and automation, they were able to put together this prototype together in three days.
The young inventor, a BSC Marketing graduate of the Christian Service University College at Kumasi, is confident the certification will help him increase production and create more employment. He says they can make portable ones to suit the needs of all interested clients during and after COVID-19.
“So, we are teaming up with the GSA, so that they will help us in getting all our things right and get into large production. As I said, we have already put the factory up so we are going to employ a lot of people and get this thing on the market because lots of calls are coming in for orders and we can’t fail Ghanaians and Africans. So, we have to do this and do it well. That is why we are partnering with the GSA to get this standardized for the international market,”he noted.
However, Citi Business News understands that the certification process, which should cost about twenty thousand cedis, came at no cost to the inventor.
The CEO of the GSA, Prof. Alex Dodoo is however optimistic that the Ministry of Trade and Industry will absorb the cost to encourage more innovations going forward.
This innovation comes weeks after President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that government is putting in place measures to boost the local manufacturing of equipment to help stem the spread of the novel cornavirus.
An example was the commencement on April 8th, 2020, of the local production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) as a means to intensify measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Ghana.