Archive for September, 2008

Jim Geisel

Jim Geisel from KPMG, who helped us with a market study, with the bamboo cargo bike that we had built last year in Ghana.

 The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) held a Kumasi Investment Day in New York on Septmeber 29, 2008.  Among potential investment opportunities showcased was the production of bamboo bikes in Kumasi. 

The MCI press release follows:

New York, September 30, 2008 – The Mayor of Kumasi, Ghana, Mme. Patricia Appiagyei, declared her city “open for business” to a packed room of potential investors during  Kumasi Investment Day North America. The event took place at Columbia University on September 29, 2008, and was organized by The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) in collaboration with the Kumasi Development Foundation (KDF), Asanteman Council of North America (ACONA), Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Corporte Council on Africa (CCA) and Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC). It was co-sponsored by the law firm Alston & Bird.

Several high-level government and business representatives from Ghana were among the participants. The keynote address at the event was given by Professor Jeffery D. Sachs. “Ghana has every reason to succeed in attracting investment,” stated Professor Sachs during his address. “It has great leadership under President John Kufuor, a stable democracy, very fertile land where everything will grow, a great cultural heritage, and recent improvements in infrastructure. I am confident investment in Ghana will take-off,” said Sachs.  Millennium Promise Executive Director John McArthur also spoke about opportunities in Ghana.  

Investors learned about a number of commercially viable investment opportunities identified by the MCI and its partners. The opportunities included cocoa and cocoa processing, mining, tourism, construction, light manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. KPMG Netherlands presented some specific investment opportunities, including a 4 or 5 star hotel with 160 rooms, a 3,000 m² shopping mall, a fruit juice processing plant with an annual capacity of 3 million liters, and a pharmaceutical plant with an annual production capacity of 2 billion tablets and capsules. Other interesting investment projects presented included a student housing at Kwame Nkrumah University in Kumasi and a palm oil processing plant.  KPMG analyzed the commercial viability of producing bamboo bicycles in a report is found here. The report is No. 04/2008 in the MCC and VCC Working Papers Series on Investment in the Millennium Cities.

Please see here for a final event program. For Alston & Bird’s press release on the event, please see here.


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We have always believed that in order for bamboo cargo bikes to make a differences in the lives of people in Africa, scaling (i.e., mass production) would be key.  We have been investigating how we could help people in Africa produce enough bikes to satisfy local demand.  The first step in such an inquiry is a market study, and we have gotten a lot of help from our friends at Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) and KPMG.  This is from an MCI press release:

KPMG Bamboo Bike White Paper

The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) at The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC) – a joint center of Columbia Law School and The Earth Institute – are pleased to announce the release of the third working papers in the MCI and VCC Working Papers Series on Investment in the Millennium Cities.

The paper, entitled “Bamboo Bicycles in Kumasi, Ghana” (Working Paper No. 04/2008), assesses the feasibility and investment opportunity of implementing a bamboo bicycle production facility in Kumasi, Ghana. It was produced in partnership with KPMG.

The MCC and VCC Working Papers Series on Investment is intended to provide policy analysis and outline challenges and opportunities for investment across the Millennium Cities. For more information, please contact Editor-in Chief Dr. Karl P. Sauvant at karl.sauvant@law.columbia.edu, Editor Joerg Simon at jks2149@columbia.edu, or Managing Editor Paulo Cunha at +646-884-7422, pmc2105@columbia.edu.

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