Cardboard boxes and Psychology: The Ripple Effect of Doing Business in Ghana

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We are going to provide you with some insight into the precarious labour market in Ghana. We are going to explain to you why cardboard boxes are underestimated. On top of that, we will give you further insight into important data and facts, which are nearly too crazy to believe.

Imagine the following situation: you are looking for a job and you find out about a great offer – but as soon as you start the application process, you are supposed to pay 636 Euro just to buy the needed application documents. That is 8 times as much as the minimum wage for an 8-hour day in Germany. How would you react?

This might sound like a crazy and imaginary story, but sadly this is what reality looks like in Ghana. The Ghana Immigration Service, which is part of the national border control, advertised 500 new positions in 2018. However, the application process was anything but ordinary: The state of Ghana decided to sell the above-mentioned application documents, probably in order to boost the economy – one costed 50 Cedi, which amounts to around 10 Euro. It seems totally crazy and absurd considering the minimum wage equals less than 2 Euro per day. Considering our example from the beginning: one application document costed 7 – 8 times as much as the daily minimum wage. If you think nobody bought these documents – you are completely wrong. In total, 84,000 forms were sold! This means 168 aspirants applied for one position. Why is that?

These numbers are not only shocking but show how desperately Ghanaians are looking for work and to which length they would go, to finally find a good and well-paid job. Especially university graduates and other highly educated people are unemployed and therefore searching for work. Most of them struggle to make a living and are barely surviving with temporary jobs – often for the rest of their lives. This is why the ones who can afford it, are moving abroad.

The Ripple-Effect

An example like this gets you thinking. It demonstrates how many people are in desperate need of a regular income. For this exact reason companies like fairafric are extremely important, since we are providing new jobs in Ghana – including employment opportunities for engineers, chemical and food experts and other higher-educated people. And our strategy seems to be working: for every new position we receive numerous applications. It goes without saying that our application documents are free!

Companies like ours, that are investing on-site, are creating a so-called ripple effect. This psychological effect indicates that every action initiates many other incidents, like ripples on the water. A statistic by the World Bank clearly shows that every job in the processing sector of agricultural products, creates another 2,8 jobs in the supply business. This illustrates that our chocolate has a tremendous social impact, with every bar. Something you should always keep in mind while you are enjoying a piece of our delicious chocolate.

Cardboard boxes are wonderful. The sight of perfectly stacked boxes, their slightly dusty smell, the very dry sound that is created by small movements and their rather rough texture which sends vibrations through your fingertips. It is okay, if you do not share our love for cardboard boxes. But have you ever thought about the fact, that without cardboard boxes trading would not be possible? No transportation, no sale and definitely no chocolate Made in Ghana in your hands (and mouths)?! – And just like that cardboard boxes start to become very attractive again!

We admit, until now, cardboard boxes were not part of our everyday thought processes but as soon as we met Safo Ntim, that quickly changed. He opened Ghana’s very first cardboard factory called Fon Packaging which is something we were very excited about. It meant that we can finally source our cardboard boxes directly from Ghana instead of importing them from Europe. Up to that point, there was no factory in Ghana that was able to produce as many cardboard boxes as we need. Let alone one that was able to produce according to the European food safety and quality standards. This is now changing because of Sofa’s company.



Economy factor cardboard

Apparently, the cardboard box industry is the third biggest industry in the world and makes nearly 500 billion US Dollar in sales per year. That seems very logical, since everything we use is packaged in cardboard boxes, whether it was send to a supermarket or directly to our home. Safo Ntim and his son Emanuel saw potential in this business. Originally, Safo imported exercise books but this was very expensive which is why he tried to produce them all by himself. Ever since, he only bought pre-cut paper from different countries and made his own books.

The new concept paid off: the demand for books was very high and even the State of Ghana became his customer. Safo was able to invest even more and his company grew more and more. For this reason, he dared to take the next big step: After realising that there was a lot of potential in the cardboard business, he invested 16 Million US Dollar to open his own cardboard box factory. Because of this huge investment, Safo was able to offer many well equipped and well-paid jobs. His company is successful and continuously growing. At this point, his son is managing the company.

Not only are we receiving our current outer cardboard boxes from him, but we are also currently developing a new packaging for our chocolate bars with him. We would love to obtain those from a producer in Ghana as well because we strongly believe in the positive ripple effect. Particularly, the way our local investments enable employers like Safo and Emanuel to hire more and more workers. On top of that, due to new local suppliers, new producers are likely to enter Ghana, which is an example of another positive effect.

In conclusion we can say: the more fairafric chocolate you eat, the more qualified jobs we can create.