Guidance on 'One-District, One Factory'

Project Active from to State and State Effectiveness

  • Ghana has begun an ambitious policy of building one new factory in each of its 216 districts.
  • This study provides guidance on which types of factories would be most viable in each district.
  • The study concludes that several unexploited primary resources exist in almost each district, and highlights the challenges districts are likely to face when trying to process these primary resources further.     

The main research and policy output of this project is a “One District, One Factory Guidebook,” which details the commodities that could be exploited as part of Ghana’s ambitious new One District, One Factory (1D1F) policy. The guidebook is based on detailed interviews we made of each of Ghana’s 216 districts in the fall of 2018. For each district, we detail the most common primary commodities that are produced, the current extent of processing into secondary goods, if any, the extent of local human capital for processing, previous attempts at processing, and why they failed (if they did in fact fail). We also document where residents and local officials recommend opening the factory, and the reasons why, such as good access to transportation or availability of markets that sell the commodity in question. Finally, we detail the main challenges likely to be faced by a factory that would produce in the district, such as limited electricity, roads, human capital, access to markets, or existing competitors.

The information contained in the guidebook comes from comprehensive surveys of all district officials and a set of local adult residents in each of Ghana’s districts. The main content of the guidebook comes from answers by the main political head of each district, the District Chief Executive, and the bureaucratic head, the District Coordinating Director. These two individuals have almost always had extensive experience in the districts, and are intimately aware of all the main economic activities in their districts. Furthermore, they are also quite knowledgeable on average about current and previous attempts to process and market the commodities in question. As such, we built much of the guidebook around their answers. We complemented their answers with survey responses from local residents above the age of 30.

If there is any single policy conclusion from the study, it is that in almost every district, there is a substantial supply of at least one commodity that is largely unexploited and could be exploited as part of the 1D1F policy. Nevertheless, there are clear challenges in most districts. The lack of easy access to large markets is substantial for most of the rural, remote districts. The lack of human capital and management experience seems binding in just about all districts outside of major urban centres. In some cases, existing factories already exploit the commodities in question in nearby districts. Still, overall, it is clear that there is great potential for further development of many primary commodities in Ghana’s districts.