Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is also a firm believer in this policy. He has set himself the goal of strengthening Ghana’s economy and shaking off the country’s image as a supplier of raw materials only. With his One district, one factory campaign, he is seeking to drive forward processing of raw materials and products within the country and, above all, to create jobs and prospects for the country’s many young people. Agriculture is just one of the eight sectors the campaign is concentrating on and Asubonteng’s pig farm is one of the businesses in a total of 216 districts that the government has identified as a showpiece enterprise eligible for funding.
With hindsight it seems everything happened for a reason
Working on a pig farm in Italy was at the time just a stopgap solution for Asubonteng; what he actually wanted to do was go to university. But from today's perspective it was a stroke of luck – he learned a lot about pig breeding during this time and re-discovered his love for animals. He is now also benefiting from the five years working in the kitchens of Bavarian restaurants. ‘Sometimes you have to travel great distances to find out who you are and what it is you want from life,’ says Asubonteng. ‘Sometimes – as in my case – it’s only in retrospect that you see how the individual stages of your life make sense within the bigger picture,’ he adds. It is an advantage for Asubonteng that, not only ‘Business Ideas for Development’ supports his venture, but also the Ghanaian Government believes in his project, is providing funding for his business and publicising it nationwide as an example of good practice for Ghana.
He also sells the pigs he breeds to other livestock farmers. And he is happy to pass on his knowledge because collaborating with other farmers is important to him. ‘We also need to start making technology work intelligently for us,’ he says.
Start small and grow slowly
Isaac Asubonteng decided to leave Europe for good and use his knowledge and his savings to start something of his own in Ghana. He decided to start small and then grow the business instead of waiting until he had enough money for a grand scheme. ‘If you are not willing to invest yourself, you won’t find anyone else willing to invest in you,’ is the most important message to everyone wanting to roll up their sleeves and start their own business in Ghana. He himself is absolutely certain he is on the right track. ‘Every time I come back from abroad to Ghana, get into the car and drive along the highways and byways, and breath the air back home, I know that I made the right decision, that I am in the right place.’