As part of his State Visit, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited WATA (West African Transport Academy) on December 12. WATA is located in the premises of Scania West Africa in the Free zone, Tema. The Swedish bus and truck manufacturer Scania recently supplied 245 modern city buses for Accra. These are being used to set up the new public transport system for Greater Accra, named Aayalolo and managed by GAPTE.
Well-trained drivers and technicians for heavy-duty vehicles are needed to implement the project, but Scania noticed the Ghanaian labour market could not provide it in full extent. Therefore, Scania has teamed up with a Ghanaian training school, GTTC, and ZF, WABCO and BOSCH to form the West African Transport Academy (WATA). For WATA's cooperation with state vocational schools, Scania has sought cooperation with German development cooperation in the form of a public-private partnership:
German Development Cooperation supports vocational training in Ghana in the focal area of sustainable economic development (Commitments for 2015 - 2018: € 10 million in financial cooperation and € 5.6 million in technical cooperation, plus special funds). The aim is to support the reform of the TVET-sector in Ghana and to develop the traditional apprenticeship system into a modern and demand-oriented vocational training system. In public-private partnerships (PPP) as with Scania, the German dual system can be implemented very well as a flagship project. The part of the PPP financed by Germany employs an instructor at Scania and advises and supports the vocational school, the Government Technical Training Center (GTTC).
The Federal President of Germany and his entourage were welcomed by Mr. Fredrik Morsing, Managing Director of Scania West Africa, and Alan Walsch, GIZ Country Director in Ghana. An introduction to Scania and WATA was held and then the President visited the training centre. The tour included a stop at a truck set up for training purposes and the group had the opportunity to speak with students from the GTTC themselves, who are currently completing a specialization as a heavy-duty mechanic in their third year.
The tour ended with the President getting to see 20 of the 73 women who are currently being trained to become bus drivers of the Aayalolo buses – an initiative known as “Women Moving the City”.
“Studies show, as well as from our own experience, that women are better drivers than men,” explained Mr. Morsing. “So, we decided to train a group of women who are passionate to become bus drivers, to make sure the Aayalolo buses are being handled in the best way possible.”
“We decided to team up with Scania in this initiative to even out gender imbalances in the Ghanaian transport sector, as well as increase the percentage of employment in the formal sector, which is an important objective in German Development Cooperation.” Explained Mrs. Moss, Head of Programme Developpp.de.
The objective for the presidential visit were multifaceted:
• The Public-Private Partnership between Scania and the BMZ sheds light on how vocational education in Ghana can be made more formalized and more practical by the engagement of the (German) economy.
• Welcome the cooperation between Ghana and Germany on TVET and the Ghanaian government's focus on youth jobs.
• Vocational training is not a “second best option” but creates reliable income opportunities in craft and industry. • Hope that international companies invest more in Ghana while taking on responsibility.
The special funds include 2 Mio. EUR from the special initiative “Digital Africa” and 5 Mio. EUR from the special programme “return and integration” for migrants, which include skills development measures i.a.