Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mall in Kumasi? Let's get more in #Kumasi

I was looking through some papers hiding in different places in my house the other day and came across one with some scribbles I could clearly remember. It was from September 28, 2013 at a +Barcamp Kumasi breakout session on ... yeah, you guessed it, Kumasi. Today, I saw a news story announcing that the Asantehene (15 years on the throne and going strong) had cut the sod for work to commence on West Africa's biggest mall, to be built in Kumasi. We've heard this before. But we hope this one will come through. I'd recount some of the submissions from that #bcksi (Barcamp Kumasi) session in this blog post.

We discussed the Kumasi Children's Park. Lady Julia, Asantehene's queen, had tried to revive it. She's rather forward-thinking, she partnered with a Google led initiative to work on an IT academy. Kumasi needs playground for its children. Those greens have to be maintained. Interestingly, +Kuukuwa Manful, fresh from leading a group of people to build an eco-friendly playground in Accra was in this breakout session. Kuukuwa is a +Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Architecture graduate too. Efua Apprey was really interested and planned to see the Parks & Gardens folks in Kumasi about the issue. I can see an idea for National Volunteer Day in Kumasi. +Ghana Volunteer Program should take note.

Kumasi has everything a great city needs. In fact, like Kuukuwa pointed out in the +Barcamp Kumasi session, Kumasi has always been a city, unlike Accra which was created as one. Accra has developed a lot because it is the capital and its development is also driven by foreign forces. Kumasi is now home to more than 2 million people. Traffic is rearing its head though the cost of living hasn't caught up to the heights of Accra's. It's beginning to retain human resources as well. There are some tech startups that are setting up around Tech as well, counting the likes of +Farmerline+mNotify, Votomobile and Hapaweb.

It's important to have more Ababio Express stores opening in Kumasi. I visited their store in Asokwa once and was impressed. I invited one of their managers, +Paapa Adjabeng to Barcamp Kumasi but he couldn't make it. I understand they'd have a store in the now opening KNUST 'Commercial Area' plaza. Ababio Express can morph into a Shoprite type store that can anchor a mall or big plaza in the future. It could even sell more made-in-Ghana goods patronized heavily locally unlike +Shoprite. A-Life started out and couldn't survive. Poku Transport is still relevant and could do with some proper competition.

The proposed mall is a good idea. I believe that Kumasi's population can support one to thrive. But it must be localized. At least to get it to pick up. Throw an Abusua restaurant type in there. It will do well better than a Chopstix. It's allowed. It won't matter if Mr. Biggs is aloud either. Show new Kumawood movies on big screens and drive advertising or product sales via the attention grabbed. Let the Oseikrom gangareas do their thing. They have a steady stream of customers. Take a ride into Adum and count the number of small stores. There is a lot of selling. There is a lot of room for buying.

There's a lot happening in Kumasi on a daily basis. It's hard to keep track of it all but I hope you can get a fair share of that via the Kumasi Daily shared by Barcamp Kumasi on Twitter. We started the My Kumasi Facebook & Twitter accounts after Barcamp Kumasi. Also, stay tuned to this awesome +Life in Kumasi blog that was also born at this +Barcamp Ghana event. 
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