World Shoe today announced the opening of its inaugural factory to produce the first antimicrobial, eco-friendly footwear brand manufactured in Africa.
The production launch represents a collaborative effort among public, private, and civil service sectors to provide high-quality, low-cost products for retail consumers throughout African and international markets that prevent injury, promote hygiene and protect against debilitating disease.
World Shoe products will form part of an integrated bundle of healthcare services that address broader public health and environmental sustainability mandates. The versatile design of the footwear is intended to provide comfortable, breathable support in a variety of climates and conditions. Made from durable EVA foam and infused with antimicrobial and biodegradation agents, this footwear contributes to a holistic strategy for public health while reducing waste and the environmental impact of the footwear industry.
Through their social service partnerships and innovative WASH&WEAR humanitarian distribution model, World Shoe will directly support efforts by governments, charities, and health agencies to promote public hygiene and vaccine uptake, and better respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.
“More than half a billion people around the world do not have reliable access to quality footwear, leaving them vulnerable to injury and diseases that perpetuate a cycle of poverty,” said Kojo Taylor, President and Co-owner of World Shoe Limited in Ghana. “We believe the new World Shoe factory will demonstrate how African innovation can propel African development and create change on a global scale. By creating a model to provide people with affordable, high-quality, eco-friendly shoes, we can support education, health and economic outcomes while protecting the environment.”
The factory launch supports the mandate of the President of Ghana and the commitment by the Ghanaian Government to promote economic investment and fulfill its global health partnership in the WHO Kigali Declaration of 2022.
The new factory offers an important blueprint for Ghana and other countries to support job creation and economic development in tandem with advancing important public health goals. The overall factory management and operation will be overseen by Ghanaians. “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,” said Honorable Thomas Nyarko Ampem, the Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman Constituency, Akosombo.
World Shoe is the vision of Manny Ohonme, a businessman and philanthropist raised in Nigeria who has two decades of charity experience delivering nearly 10 million pairs of shoes to people in need across 109 countries. “As a child growing up in poverty, I experienced the power of a pair of shoes to transform lives,” said Mr. Ohonme, who now serves as President of World Shoe. “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.”
An important element of World Shoe’s operational model includes plans to sell its products in North America, Europe and elsewhere at a price point that allows the organization to scale its social enterprise and humanitarian efforts. “We are creating an African brand for the world,” said Astor Chambers, VP of Marketing for World Shoe, Inc. and a veteran of Nike and Adidas. “We are fusing together a unique, sustainable product design with the ambition of a brand that stands for large scale social good. This will appeal to socially conscious consumers everywhere and has the potential to revolutionize how we achieve greater health and economic equity.”
World Shoe already has orders for 1.5 million pairs of shoes, vaulting the organization into the Top 20 social enterprises in the world.