Rain is a blessing paramount to our survival. But in Accra, where 34-year-old General Manager Yassine Benayada is based, it is sometimes seen as a curse, especially from June until August when it rains cats and dogs. It can bring huge destruction, but that’s why Sika is there – to help improve the country’s infrastructure, including water treatment, sanitation, and the durability of buildings.
Process the Rains Down in Africa
Yassine was appointed as the first manager of the Accra site, which Sika opened in September 2021. His team is mainly distributing roofing and waterproofing products, but also serves ready mix customers. Sika opened its first admixture plant in Accra in September, and its mortar plant will open in December.
A Colorful MixAccording to Yassine, who was born in Tunisia, there is a startup feel to his office. “We started having mixed team ‘squads’ for sales, production, and marketing. There is a link between each squad, so they don’t forget that the whole point of being here is to sell. I’ve seen a huge increase in collaboration.” His team totals 18 and reflects Ghana’s rainbow mix of cultures, including nationals of France, Venezuela, Tunisia, Lebanon, Code d'Ivoire and Ghana.
"We started having mixed team ‘squads’ for sales, production, and marketing. There is a link between each squad, so they don’t forget that the whole point of being here is to sell. I’ve seen a huge increase in collaboration."
Women make up 40% of the team
Women make up 40% of the team, which is high for the chemical industry – a product of the matriarchal culture. “Here, women have a lot of power in society,” Yassine said. “Even the family inheritance is transmitted via women.”
"...the availability of water is not a problem. It’s the availability of clean water"
Yassine rarely needs a sweater in Ghana’s palm-tree climate, but it’s not exactly paradise, mainly due to the water pollution. “Here, treatment plants are basically non-existent. They throw the waste into the river,” Yassine said.Malaria and typhoid are still quite common. “This is quite surprising because Ghana has the biggest artificial lake in the world, Lake Volta,” he said. “So, the availability of water is not a problem. It’s the availability of clean water. I always tell the bartender, ‘No ice,’ because you don’t know what the ice is made of. Many people learn this the hard way.”
Yet this is an opportunity for Sika, which already produces many key products for the water treatment industry. “Everybody needs to have a tank, and those tanks need to be coated,” he said.
"Our teams deliver a consistently high level of performance which we can take pride in."
Like other cities near the equator, Accra is becoming rainier and more prone to extreme floods due to climate change. So, Sika Ghana will install a system to use recycled rainwater for admixture production, as well as solar panels. Next year, the site will source its electricity from 100% sustainable sources. “Our customers can see that we are making effort. With energy prices skyrocketing, this is a must.”
To help clean up the rivers, Sika Ghana has funded several cleanup operations with the hope of educating locals about respecting water. “We are also taking care of an orphanage next to us, improving sanitary conditions there,” he said.
Yassine is resourceful, a natural leader who helps his peers and community become more environmentally savvy. He even sees potential in the coconut shells scattered everywhere. “We’re having conversations to use the shells as a coarse aggregate in concrete. But it’s still early days.”
Although Ghana is struggling with high inflation (33%), a plunging currency, and other issues, it is still one of Africa’s gems, with its fascinating traditions, diverse rainforests, and vibrant cities.Yassine calls it, “An island democracy in a challenging environment. The countries surrounding us are not that easy.”What Yassine likes best about working and living in Ghana is how the locals seem to instinctively boast the Sika spirit. “The people are wonderful, very welcoming,” he said. “It’s a peaceful country. I noticed how resilient people are here.”