The intensity of steel consumption is commonly used as an indicator of industrial development in any country. Considering a steel consumption of 300 kg per person per year as a fair level of development,
Ghana will need about 7 million tonnes as initial step towards becoming an industrializing economy. That is a distant journey from the present consumption level of less than one million tonnes per annum. The steel industry generates substantial growth for both upstream and downstream facilities. Whether it is construction or industrial goods, bridges, housing or hospitals, steel is the basic raw material.
As a rule of thumb, the direct employment potential of a steel plant in a developing country with 1 million tonnes/year production is 1200 persons, and according to estimates, 1 man-year of employment in the steel industry in a developing country can generate 8 man-years of employment within the integrated industry, i.e. the development of new settlements, schools, food and hospitality industries, creating additional job multiplying effects into the economy.
Key challenges remain the availability of cheap and reliable electricity.
The availability of local steel can contribute to growth in automotive, electronics and other manufacturing industries. At the core of the steel industry is an immediate entry into machine building capability, charting the path to effectively generate new processes and adding value to current production methods, and by implication, increasing the share of national income that is reinvested in economic development. Machine building capability will greatly expand the economy in agriculture, transportation, construction and infrastructural development, energy production and processing of agricultural and mining raw material for the quite obvious reason that the tools to readily expand production in these sectors will reside within Ghanaian control.
A local steel production plant within Ghana’s borders will spur additional infrastructure growth, as the construction of ports, railways and highways, which often follows the construction of a steel facility, is critical for development. Such plants can result in long term benefits for mining towns, including the creation of new jobs and complementary economic opportunities.
Integrated Iron and Steel Commission - As a first approach, the defunct Integrated Iron and Steel Commission should be reconstituted as the main policy, regulatory and research institute to oversee the development of the steel industry