World Shoe today announced the opening of its inaugural factory to produce the first antimicrobial, eco-friendly footwear brand manufactured in Africa.
The launch of production signifies a collaborative endeavor involving the public, private, and civil service sectors. Its purpose is to deliver affordable, high-quality products to retail consumers in African and international markets. These products are designed to prevent injuries, promote hygiene, and safeguard against debilitating diseases. World Shoe products will be integrated into a comprehensive suite of healthcare services, addressing broader public health and environmental sustainability objectives. The versatile design of this footwear aims to provide comfortable, breathable support in diverse climates and conditions. Crafted from robust EVA foam and enhanced with antimicrobial and biodegradable agents, this footwear contributes to a holistic approach to public health while reducing waste and minimizing the environmental footprint of the footwear industry.
Through their social service partnerships and innovative WASH&WEAR humanitarian distribution model, World Shoe will directly assist governments, charities, and health agencies in promoting public hygiene, vaccine uptake, and improved response to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Kojo Taylor, President and Co-owner of World Shoe Limited in Ghana, emphasized the impact, saying, “More than half a billion people around the world lack reliable access to quality footwear, leaving them vulnerable to injuries and diseases that perpetuate a cycle of poverty. We believe the new World Shoe factory will demonstrate how African innovation can drive African development and effect global change. By establishing a model that offers affordable, high-quality, eco-friendly shoes, we can support education, health, and economic outcomes while safeguarding the environment.”
The inauguration of the factory aligns with the mandate of the President of Ghana and the Ghanaian Government’s commitment to foster economic investment, in line with the WHO Kigali Declaration of 2022 on global health partnerships. This new factory serves as a blueprint for Ghana and other nations, combining job creation and economic development with vital public health objectives. The management and operation of the factory will be under the supervision of Ghanaians. Honorable Thomas Nyarko Ampem, the Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman Constituency, Akosombo, voiced his support, saying, “We must do everything to make this initiative succeed as it creates employment for the local community. I’m also excited that this provides a huge import substitution that will help strengthen the local economy.”
World Shoe is the brainchild of Manny Ohonme, a businessman and philanthropist raised in Nigeria with nearly two decades of charitable experience, delivering nearly 10 million pairs of shoes to people in need across 109 countries. Mr. Ohonme, now President of World Shoe, shared his personal journey, stating, “As a child growing up in poverty, I experienced the power of a pair of shoes to transform lives. Shoes give us dignity and allow us to realize our full human potential. From aid to trade, our goal is to leverage exceptional product design and manufacturing to deliver lasting positive change to people everywhere.”
A vital aspect of World Shoe’s operational model involves plans to offer its products in North America, Europe, and other regions at a price point that enables the organization to expand its social enterprise and humanitarian initiatives. Astor Chambers, VP of Marketing for World Shoe, Inc., and a veteran of Nike and Adidas, explained their vision, saying, “We are creating an African brand for the world. We are blending a unique, sustainable product design with the ambition of a brand that stands for large-scale social good. This will resonate with socially conscious consumers globally and has the potential to revolutionize how we achieve greater health and economic equity.”
World Shoe has already received orders for 1.5 million pairs of shoes, catapulting the organization into the Top 20 social enterprises globally.