Mixing concrete with manioc
For 25 years, administrations have worked together as partners – and sometimes come up with surprising solutions.
Emmanuel Obeng no longer wants to see bridges and buildings collapse. That’s why the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) coordinator ensures that premium materials that meet international quality standards are used in construction. The German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) supports him, and the results are plain to see: everyone benefits from the cooperation.
BAM supports GSA in an administrative partnership. This means that BAM and GSA experts meet regularly to share knowledge, build laboratories and develop tests. The goal is to protect the Ghanaian market against deficient building materials. Pheladi Tlhatlha works in project implementation at BAM. Speaking about the cooperation, she says, ‘The exchange is crucial. We all learn and benefit.’ It also enables them to research greener concrete production methods, as this process is the largest global industrial source of CO2 emissions. They discovered that the manioc plant is a suitable substitute for cement in concrete, which makes production more environmentally friendly. Wolfram Schmidt, Project Manager at BAM, adds, ‘If we manage to save just a few per cent of CO2 in production, it has a significant climate change mitigation impact.’
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the cooperation between BAM and GSA, which is proving successful. ‘We are nearing our goal of building only using high-quality materials,’ says Obeng. ‘The partnership has really helped us to classify building materials better and develop standards.’
EU twinning: learning from each other
GIZ has been providing advice on administrative partnerships for over 20 years. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the company works so that countries align their laws with those of the European Union (EU). Known as EU twinning, it began with the goal of bringing together EU accession candidates with the governments of member states. The process is now in international demand. German administrations have been involved in 825 EU twinning projects. GIZ provided advisory support in 225 of them.